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Researcher develops hurricane resistant window with fiberglass interlayer

An engineering researcher at the University of Missouri at Columbia has developed a hurricane-resistant glass which should withstand winds even more poweful than those of Hurricane Isabel, which cause…

An engineering researcher at the University of Missouri at Columbia has developed a hurricane-resistant glass which should withstand winds even more poweful than those of Hurricane Isabel, which caused widespread destruction on the United States“ East Coast on 18 September 2003. The laminated glass created by mechanical engineer Sanjeev K. Khanna resisted projectiles hitting it at 160 mph. That wind speed is equivalent to a Category 5 storm, whereas Isabel“s 100 mph winds made it as a Category 2 hurricane. “Normally, most of the damage during a hurricane comes from debris hitting the glass,” said Khanna, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. “Even a small pebble, weighing a few grams, won“t break the glass the first time, but if you have many, it can break.” Khanna“s glass is similar to other safety glass in that it uses an interlayer to hold the sandwiching glass panes together. However, it differs in the material used as the interlayer: fiberglass. The resulting product is stiffer and more impact- resistant than other safety glass, Khanna said. Other researchers have avoided using fiberglass because it tends to make the glass opaque. Khanna solved that problem by changing the plastic, but the glass still has a slight blue tint that he is trying to correct. Researchers fired small, 2-gram bullets at the glass at 160 mph. Standard safety glass broke after 40 hits, while the fiberglass-reinforced panel lasted up to 150 hits, Khanna said. When a larger piece of debris – a 4-inch-long, half-inch-thick steel rod – was fired at the glass at 60 mph , the standard safety glass broke immediately, whereas Khanna“s glass needed six hits to break.Khanna would like to find a company to produce the glass commercially. He believes it can be manufactured at a price similar to standard safety glass, yet offer a higher level of safety. Khanna has been working on the glass project for three years under a USD 280,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

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