How Hot Is It Before Glass Breaks?

The expansion and contraction of glass, which can ultimately lead to shattering and cracks, is greatly influenced by the pace and distribution of heat. As a result, temperature alone rarely dictates when glass breaks. Glass can fracture or break when heated, a phenomenon known as a thermal break.

There are other factors besides temperature that affect why glass breaks. When one part of a glass panel gets hotter than the other, like the centre getting hotter than the edge, thermal stress is caused.

The centre of the glass expands as a result of the temperature change, putting stress on the material and leading to breaks or cracks. Glass will break if the stress exceeds its capacity to withstand it.

Glass glasses or dishware can be heated very slowly to give the object time to expand evenly, reducing or eliminating thermal breaks and stress. Some glass manufacturers will apply a specific coating or tint to windows or glass panels, like patio doors, to help slow or even out the flow of heat. To help maintain a cooler temperature, some businesses might also recommend additional outdoor shading for windows and doors.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

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