Spontaneous Glass Breakage

Spontaneous Glass Breakage

You may have heard of spontaneous glass breakage, but it’s not as spontaneous as you think.

This type of breakage happens when toughened or tempered glass seems to crack or shatter for no reason. But there are always reasons, and one of the most common results from minor damage during installation that may be invisible to the naked eye.

Maybe you didn’t notice tiny nicks, chips or other defects when your glass was originally installed, but they were there and have already weakened it. It could take hours, days, weeks or even months for this minor damage to lead to spontaneous breakage.

Another common cause of spontaneous cracking is binding the product too tightly within a frame. A mistake like this leads to stress, especially since glass expands and contracts with the seasons, depending on the temperature.

Although it seems solid, glass is actually porous and prone to growth and shrinkage. If the binding is too tight, the pressure can suddenly become too much, or it can break due to constant pressure over time.

Be More Spontaneous!

The glass also may have internal defects, such as nickel sulfide inclusions. These too are invisible to the naked eye, and that’s why you should use a reputable dealer who will use only the best products in your installation.

Thermal stress also can break glass, and panes that are too thin to resist wind pressure also can lead to spontaneous breakage. If you get your product from a reliable source and it’s installed correctly, you can drastically reduce the odds of spontaneous breakage. However, installation is the trickier of the two to control.

Moving and installing glass provides plenty of opportunity for nicking, chipping and other accidental slip-ups. Sometimes screws and nails can be installed too tightly or at the wrong angle. Over time, the glass will shift and those stress concentrators can buckle under pressure.

From the Inside Out

Most glass today is supported with resilient blocks which allow room for expansion. Any gaskets involved are designed to cushion it from wind. However, if you have too little space or not enough cushioning, breakage can happen.

With nickel sulfide stones, tiny steel/nickel shavings can slip into the glass, thanks to the stainless steel machines that are used in the manufacturing process, and create intense stresses. If the stress is stronger than the glass, it will break. The tell-tale sign of this type of breakage is in the resulting figure-eight pattern.

Most sealed, insulating glass breaks from thermal stress. The coatings, which are reflective, can make the outside overheat. It might not break immediately, but that stress stays forever and builds up over time.

If your glass breaks, let the professionals deal with repairs and replacements. Call Murray Glass today to ensure your glass is safe, secure and not a hazard.