Windshields are made of laminated safety glass, a type of glass that is composed of a piece of plastic sandwiched between two layers of glass. The three layers are sealed together and air pockets are removed by rollers or vacuum systems.
Automatic glassis either tempered or laminated. The glass used for the front and rear door windows and the rear window is usually tempered, while the windshield is made of laminated glass.
Laminated glass is designed to survive extreme impacts without breaking, helping to prevent injuries from flying shards of glass or passengers being thrown through the windshield. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than before the tempering process. When it breaks, it is designed to break into small pieces that are less likely to cause additional injury or damage. All automotive glass is made with safety in mind.
Laminated glass is made up of two pieces of glass with a thin layer of vinyl between them. The three pieces are laminated together by applying heat and pressure in an autoclave. When a small object hits a piece of safety glass, usually only the outer layer breaks. In most homes, windows are made of standard glass that breaks into large pieces when broken.
Automotive glass, however, must be able to withstand bumps, rocks, and fender benders. That's why it's manufactured in two different types of safety glass: tempered and laminated. Laminated glass is used for windshields, while tempered glass is used for side and rear windows. Automotive glass is also designed to be resistant to dust, dirt, and impacts to prevent particles from sticking to the glass and distorting the driver's line of sight.
In addition to windshields, automotive glass can also be used for sunroofs. It's designed to be UV-resistant so passengers can enjoy natural light without harmful UV rays. Laminated glass can be repaired, but tempered glass breaks completely in an accident and requires a complete replacement. Glass manufacturers continue to explore new ideas to make automotive glass stronger, safer, and more adaptable to new vehicles.