The tempered glass selected for the Hinge Classic Shower Enclosure
undergoes a specific heat treatment process known as "tempering" to enhance its strength, safety, and suitability for bathroom use. Here's an overview of the tempering process and why it's suitable for bathroom applications:
1. Heat Treatment (Quenching): The tempering process begins with the fabrication of standard glass panels. These panels are then heated to a high temperature, close to their softening point.
2. Rapid Cooling: Once the glass reaches the desired temperature, it is rapidly cooled by directing jets of air onto its surfaces. This rapid cooling, also known as "quenching," creates a controlled difference in temperature between the outer surfaces and the inner core of the glass.
3. Surface Compression: As the outer surfaces of the glass cool and contract faster than the inner core, they solidify while the core remains in a semi-molten state. This creates a state of surface compression, where the outer layers are in tension while the inner core is in compression.
4. Internal Tension: The outer surface compression results in internal tension within the glass. This internal tension gives tempered glass its characteristic strength. If the glass were to break, the internal tension causes it to shatter into small, rounded pieces instead of sharp shards.
5. Strength and Safety: The tempering process significantly increases the strength of the glass, making it several times stronger than regular annealed glass of the same thickness. Additionally, when tempered glass breaks, it breaks into small, relatively harmless fragments that are less likely to cause serious injury.
6. Impact Resistance: Tempered glass is better able to withstand impacts, making it suitable for use in shower enclosures where accidental impacts are possible.
7. Heat Resistance: The tempering process also enhances the glass's resistance to thermal stress. This makes tempered glass more capable of handling rapid temperature changes, such as those that occur in a bathroom environment with hot showers.
8. Code Compliance: Many building codes and safety standards require the use of tempered glass in areas prone to impact, such as bathrooms and shower enclosures.
9. Maintenance: Tempered glass is easier to clean and maintain due to its smooth surface and scratch resistance.
The tempering process is crucial for making glass suitable for bathroom use, especially in applications like shower enclosures. The process not only enhances the glass's strength and durability but also ensures safety by preventing the formation of large, sharp glass fragments upon breakage. As a result, tempered glass is the preferred choice for shower enclosures, providing both functionality and safety for bathroom environments.