architect's guide to laminated glass and pvb layers

Architect’s Guide to Laminated Glass and PVB Interlayers

To meet building codes and withstand long-term stress, architectural glass uses laminated safety glass. The lamination process reinforces glass by bonding two or more panes with an interlayer. Interlayers reinforce the panes providing increased durability, while in the case of breakage, they hold the panes in place.

Laminated glass offers structurally sound construction while incorporating a transparent element into your design. Using laminated glass in your structural systems, like canopies, skylights, facades, and atriums, ensures safety and security.

How can you tell if the glass is laminated?

Manufacturers usually label the panes with a logo or ‘bugs.’ These bugs printed with a light white hue are visible along the perimeter, especially at the corners. Additionally, you can recognize laminated glass by viewing it on the edges where the interlayer is visible.

What is the interlayer in laminated glass?

While different materials are used for the production of laminated glass, the most common interlayer is polyvinyl butyral or PVB. Its use in glass began in the 1930s. PVB is a resilient plastic that bonds the glass panes together.

Manufacturing polyvinyl butyral interlayer involves reacting polyvinyl alcohol with butyraldehyde. A combination of pressure and heat applied to the resin placed between the panes creates a laminated pane.

advantages of pvb interlayer in architectural glass infographic

What are the advantages of PVB laminated glass?

PVB has been a staple of laminated glass production due to the flexibility of the material. Its unique properties make it ideal for a multitude of applications. Some of the noted benefits for incorporating PVB laminated glass focuses on its strength and mechanical properties, environmental control capabilities, and customization options.

Consistent Strength and Mechanical Properties

One of the standout qualities of PVB laminated glass is its strength. As a thermosetting plastic, PVB boasts exceptional resistance to impact, heat, and corrosion. These attributes make it ideal for various architectural applications, including skylights, canopies, atriums, or facades.

PVB’s low dielectric constant and high flexibility add to its appeal for use in structural applications. Its excellent adhesion properties also means that it can be effectively bonded to various substrates – which allows for further variation.

Perhaps most importantly, PVB’s mechanical properties are predictable, allowing engineers to reliably forecast how the laminated glass will behave within a structure. This predictability, along with the variety of substrate options, ensures a strong structure with glass adapted to an architect’s design needs.

Environmental Control

PVB laminated glass offers solutions to influence the structure’s environment. The interlayer can filter up to 99% of the most damaging portion of the UV spectrum. The reduction in UV radiation can reduce the fading of interior finishes – from artwork to wood flooring, and other furnishings. This UV filtration allows for a more enjoyable and safer environment for those who spend long hours in naturally lit interiors.

Moreover, PVB laminated glass significantly enhances sound abatement properties. By blocking sound waves and reducing vibration, this type of glass can help create peaceful interior spaces, free from external noise intrusion. Different glazing thicknesses and membrane combinations can be used to address specific noise issues, with the airspace within the sealed units contributing to sound attenuation.

Variety of Customization Options

The beauty of PVB laminated glass is not just in its physical and environmental control properties, but also in its aesthetic versatility. This material can be customized to match a wide range of architectural and interior design styles.

PVB interlayers offer control over color, transparency, reflectance, translucency, opacity, and texture. Whether you’re designing glass façades, skylights, atriums, canopies, or balustrades, PVB laminated glass can be tailored to fit the design intent.

Product Utilizations of PVB Interlays

Designers apply PVB laminated glass in most structural glass buildings that require this type of interlayered glass. When used externally, glazing systems can protect low iron glass or panes with exposed edges.

Point supported glass systems are an especially transparent glazed system. This structure makes use of only specific points to anchor the glass panes, instead of being held together on all sides. There are many applications of point-supported glass, from canopies to facades.

Frameless glass, just as it sounds, is an internal or external glazing option that lacks a frame around the exterior. It fits “seamlessly” into the building’s surrounding architecture.

The Bottom Line

PVB interlayers make glass panes stronger and secure. Using PVB laminated glass in your projects can offer control over the implementation of the architectural glass systems.

With Novum Structures, you’ll work with a world-leading company offering integrated system solutions to structural glass and steel projects. Novum has ISO quality certifications in the engineering, fabrication, and installation of structural glass systems. When working with Novum, you can count on an accurate budget, quality implementation, and experienced aid throughout the life of your project. Contact us to realize your design intent on your next architectural glass project.