Windshields are meant for providing protection to the driver as well as the passengers of a vehicle so that they do not get distracted by weather conditions or flying dust.
Windshields were initially made of glass which got shattered easily. The next stage in the development of windshields saw the use of tempered glass which was much stronger and shatter-proof. However, the latest version of the windshield is considered to be the safest. It is made of multi-layered laminated glass.
The process of making the windshield
The windshield is made up of three layers. A layer of cellulose is inserted in between two layers of tempered glass. This extra layer provides protection against shattering. The laminated glass is just as strong as tempered glass but it has the additional capacity to bend upon impact which reduces its tendency to shatter.
- The main components of laminated glass are silica, soda ash, limestone, dolomite and cullet. All these components are mixed together and some water is added to the mixture. After that, the mixture is heated at a very high temperature to cause chemical fusion.
- In the next step, this molten mixture is passed through the float chamber where it literally floats on a thin layer of molten tin.
- The molten glass is then transported to another chamber called the lehr where it is allowed to cool down with the help of a special furnace.
- This raw form of glass is cut into appropriate sizes with the help of a scribe. The shaping and tempering process is carried out in which the glass is placed on a mold having a specific curvature. It is heated in order to take the shape of the mold but is cooled quickly. Such tempering makes the glass strong.
- Finally, two layers of this tempered glass are taken and a thin layer of PVB or Poly-Vinyl Butyral is placed between them. The three layers fuse with each other when they are heated in an autoclave and then passed between rollers. This final product can be fit onto the frame of the car and bonded with the help of a strong adhesive called urethane.
The windshield is made according to the specific requirements of particular models. The windshield of one model cannot be used for another. It is a vital part of any vehicle and is considered to be a part of its safety mechanism.
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