Laminated glass windows are specially constructed windows used for both safety and soundproofing. They create a sandwich by layering vinyl material between two panes of glass, so that the vinyl is laminated on both sides by the glass. The extra layers and the vinyl material create a soundproofing effect. When used in building construction, laminated windows reduce noise that filters in from outside. They also help minimize damage should a window shatter. The layers and increased thickness improve durability, and at times can completely prevent impact breakage.
The majority of laminate processes use heat to bond the two layers of glass to the vinyl layer, to create laminated glass windows. The vinyl is invisible between between the layers, and the three pieces together behave the same as one sheet of glass. This denser layer not only provides additional strength, but creates a thicker barrier for sound waves to penetrate, resulting in the noise-filtering effect.
The design of laminated windows is similar to vehicle safety windows and windshields, and has the same effect in the event of damage or cracking. The vinyl between the two layers of glass acts as an adhesive. Should either the panes shatter, the shards stick to the vinyl rather than falling or flying in various directions. This can prevent injury from flying glass, or from contact with broken glass. This can also make replacing the broken window easier. Often laminated glass windows can be removed in one piece, with lower risk of injury.
Another safety benefit of laminated glass windows is security. Would-be burglars find the glass much more difficult to break due to its density, and the layered design is impervious to many glass-cutting devices. Even if the glass breaks, the vinyl material remains intact and acts as a difficult barrier to penetrate. While it is possible to break laminated windows, home invaders may not find it worth the effort.
The inner layer used in laminated glass windows can also be used for additional benefits. Depending on the material used or treatments applied to the inner layer, laminated windows can provide light-filtering or tinting capabilities. UV-blocking can cut down on direct sunlight and reduce interior heat, as can a color tint applied to the film. Filtering light and heat can avoid problems with furniture, curtains, and carpet fading from sun-bleaching, and can improve energy efficiency from reduced cooling needs during hot months. Color tints can be used additionally for decorative purposes.