Glass and polymers in building construction


Glass in building construction

Both the requirements of architects and building owners and the possible applications of glass in the construction industry have developed considerably since the beginning of this millennium.

The dimensions available today realize the desire for maximum transparency of a building envelope. At the same time, significant technological advances have made better and new functions of glazing possible. Examples of this range from chemically toughened thin glass (Fig. 1) and the use of thermally toughened laminated glass as a load-bearing structural material to intelligent façades with adaptive solar control glazing.

Sustainability in glass construction

A wide variety of applications demonstrate the use of glass for sustainable building constructions and energy generation. The current standard of triple insulating glazing reduces heat loss in winter by a factor of 10 compared to historical single glazing. For photovoltaic modules and solar thermal collectors, glass provides external protection and at the same time enables maximum solar transmission for high efficiency.

Polymers in glass construction

Polymers play a particularly important role in glass construction: for example, bonded all-glass façades without external clamping strips can meet high architectural standards. For safety glass - if the glass has to prevent people from falling, for example - a composite of glass and polymeric interlayers (laminated safety glass) is used (Fig. 2). This can also fulfill protection requirements such as explosion resistance (Fig. 3). Glass substitutes such as Plexiglas® (PMMA) are also used in the construction industry due to their lower weight and increased impact resistance.

Polymers are also used in other areas of the construction industry, for example for retrofitting structural reinforcements using CFRP laminates or geotextiles.

Further background and information on the subject of glass construction and polymers in construction can also be found in the standard work Glasbau (Springer-Verlag). Students of the h_da can obtain this digitally free of charge.

Glass and polymers in building construction at the faculty

The glass construction course (185216) brings the current state of technology and research in the fields of glass construction, polymers and façade technology directly into teaching. In addition to traditional lectures and exercises, the course is supplemented by a studentic project work and excursions (Fig. 4).

Thanks to its membership of the Materials and Process Technology Research Center (fz mpt) and cooperation with the Department of Mechanical and Polymer Engineering at h_da as well as the Institute of Structural Mechanics and Design (ISM+D) at TU Darmstadt and its affiliated Glass Competence Center (GCC), the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at h_da is excellently networked in the field of glass and polymer research.

Contact us

Prof. Dr. Johannes Kuntsche

Communication Office: A12, 02.09

Short profile
ORCID: 0000-0003-3701-3131

Educational Area
Konstruktiver Ingenieurbau