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Published on Apr 23, 2008
Read Consulting glass failure experts filmed in real-time the failure of a 7' x 1' u-shaped piece of tempered glass. The objective was to demonstrate how rapidly the glass falls apart and to assess the danger to one standing underneath a failed piece of tempered glass.
Tempered glass self destructs once its compressive layer has been penetrated by a defect. In the case as shown by the attached videos, a center punch was used to create a defect which penetrates into the tensile portion of the glass.
Once in the tensile region, the speed of the actual defect (crack) is in excess of 8,000MPH. To the normal eye, the glass piece fails almost instantly. Basically, it self destructs into thousands of small diced pieces as intended.
Therefore, one would expect the failed glass to be safe. However, as one can see by the video, these pieces can remain interlocked and can fall as large interlocked "chunks." Naturally these chunks have the potential to injure anyone underneath.
Thus, in this configuration, tempered glass cannot be considered "safety-glass." Showing that there is risk involved with having tempered glass elevated above public access walkways, etc.