White Paper: Evaluation Criteria for Visual/Performance Qualities of Fire-Rated Glass Ceramics

A new generation of glass ceramic materials that provide fire-protective assemblies for fire-rated separations can be specified for multifunctional performance. Qualitative and quantitative evaluation criteria are useful for architects and building design teams.
August 07, 2014

Fire-rated glass and glazing assemblies deliver safety and security benefits while offering a number of aesthetic and functional qualities that building teams demand from architectural glass. These systems include fire-protective and fire-resistive glass formulations. While the two are different, they are both able to meet and exceed building codes and life-safety requirements, according to a number of code experts and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs). In addition, these products allow the opening up of fire separations and exterior walls, which benefits building occupants and helps meet sustainability goals.

However there have been longstanding limitations of fire-resistant glass ceramics from an aesthetic standpoint. In addition, there are well-known shortcomings in performance that have limited the acceptance and application of architectural fire glazing. In particular, glass ceramics offer excellent life-safety characteristics but until recently have been associated with undesirable visual, color and reflectivity attributes.
 
A novel glass ceramic technology has been introduced that addresses these drawbacks, expanding the ability of a fire-rated glass ceramic to meet the multifunctional requirements demanded for today’s high-performance building projects. This innovative glass ceramic formulation  is presented in this technical brief, with a discussion of its tested performance values and benefits in architectural applications.
 
The glass ceramic technology is shown to improve on standard architectural fire-rated glazings in a number of notable and beneficial ways. In particular, it allows closer matching of visual qualities of standard float glass. The new glass ceramics also provide improved performance for a number of functional attributes.
 
For architects, specifiers, façade consultants and other building design professionals, this breakthrough offers an opportunity to select ceramic glazings based on a broad range of functional requirements. These include visual properties such as distortion, UV absorption, and light transmission as well as measurable aesthetic values, such as color rendering, reflectivity, clarity and transmitted light quality.
 

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