Tempered glass alternatives?

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Hi all!
I had an unfortunate incident this morning: the shower glass spontaneously shattered (exploded would be a better description) into thousands of small pieces this morning. From what I read, I think this was tempered glass.
Anyway, to avoid future incident, I think that it would be best to avoid anything that can shatter (i.e. glass). Are there any plastics (I'm sorry, but I completely naive when it comes to these things) that look like lass - that is, they don't look "plasticky" but aren't and would be safe you use as an alternative? They need to be child proof.
TIA Mark
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Yes you can use plastic, but it will not last as long as tempered glass. It will become scratched, difficult to clean and likely yellowed.
While I don't know why the tempered glass died, it did what it is designed to do. Lots of small pieces that are not likely to cause serious injury. The glass in your car is made much the same way. On rare occasions the stuff will do what yours did, but it is safer than the alternatives.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

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glass.
Thanks for the reply.
Are there no plastics that are quite hard that will resist scratching? Obviously not glass-hard, but something that will at least resist the odd scuff mark?

_Serious_ injury was avoided, but the shower was in use and the bath had an interesting mixture of blood and shattered glass in it - most unpleasant. Picking glass shards from my wife's feet was something I never thought I'd have to do!

... except plastic? I appreciate what you say about plastic lookig dirtier after a while, but I'd rather dirty plastic and no blood, than to have to go through extracting glass splinters from my wife's (or my!) feet again.

Off topic: An interesting pre-Good Friday Agreement signature. :-)

[snip]
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GE touts Lexan as unbreakable if memory serves.
On Fri, 6 Feb 2004 13:24:59 -0000, "Mark"

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On Fri, 06 Feb 2004 08:50:27 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net wrote:

While I worked in a Naval Aviation Depot grind shop, a grinding wheel exploded, injuring the machinist who was operating it. The testing phase for a shield impervious to grinding wheel explosions involved me taking some lexan out and shooting it with various firearms.
Yes, lexan (about 3/8" thick, IIRC) is quite literally bulletproof as long as you're talking relatively slow handgun bullets. (.38, .45, etc.) A .22LR did penetrate however. (Velocity counts more than total energy.)
Lexan does get quite scratched up in an environment with lots of grit and abrasives, but I bet if you used cleaning agents no harsher than toothpaste, you wouldn't cloud it up much. Then again, as a shower door, maybe you'd actually want it cloudy? Get the Ajax!
Since there was lexan all over the place for cockpit "bubbles" there wasn't a cost issue per se, but I got the idea that lexan is pretty pricey.
--
Steve Ackman
http://twoloonscoffee.com (Need green beans?)
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However, that's thick Lexan. CDs are made of polycarbonate as well. Take an AOL CD and fold it - it will shatter. Polycarbonate's strength is a function of its thickness. It's definitely not unbreakable.
Mike
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<snip>
Take a dremel, and a sanding drum. Push the CD onto the dremel sanding drum, and turn onto full speed. The CD will explode if there is the smallest flaw. Do not put any part of your body in line with the CD, I ended up with spears of CD sticking into the plasterboard by quite a way.
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I think it's unlikely that the OP plans on using a .22LR in his bathroom.

Virtually all materials' shatter resistance is proportionate to their thickness, bit it types of plastics or glass. When shattered, most thinner plastics do break into sharp edged shards. There *are* types of safety glass formulated to break into rounder-edged pieces that are relatively harmless, particularly in thicker dimensions.

You clearly have too much time on your hands!
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Try that with just about anything of a similar diameter and thickness, and chances are you'll get similar results. Ie: dremel grinding disks (at a much smaller diameter).
Centripetal forces on a 4" diameter object turning at 30,000 RPM are pretty extreme.
There's a reason that the dremel bits aren't very big...
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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I really doubt it got to that speed.
Anyway. a=v^2/r, radius is about 7cm, rim speed is around 7*2*pi*(30000/60) 219m/s. a!9^2/.07h5157m/s^2, or around 70000G
The experiment was to find out at what speed CDs explode, as CD drive speeds are getting pretty silly. 48* CDrom drives (even assuming it's only 48*200, not 48*500) result in around 100G at the rim.
The CD I weighed was 15g. At 70000G, the forces trying to rip the CD apart probably exceeds 250Kg, if it got to 30000RPM.
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You'll probably find replacing the entire unit with a brand new one cheaper than any alternative, glass or plastic.
What occured here is extremely rare. After falling off a horse, you get back on, you don't start riding ponies.
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[snip]

cheaper
I should have said, safety, not cost is the issue here.

back
Try telling that to Christopher Reeve.

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"Mark"

Invest in a door with some THICKER tempered glass.
- Nate
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Mark wrote:

Plexiglass would likely last until the kids are old enough to be safe. Clean without abrasives - special cleaners probably available. Wipe down after each use to keep from getting water minerals/spots on it (if you're really ambitious. I'm not.)
I lived in a home once that had a combo storm/screen door, with plain glass (unbeknownst to me) in the lower part. My son, age 1, was standing by the door watching the older kids outside playing. One of the kids outside started bumper her rear against the door from the outside. I heard a noise and came out to find my son still standing there with a 2' shard of glass leaning against him, because the glass broke. The pointed end was about neck level on him. Not hurt. Mom scared :o)
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[snip]

Very understandable! Neither standing next to a 2' shard of glass or walking on thousands of tiny glass needles are pleasant. I think one of the plastics (Plexiglas or Lexan) sound like the best bet.

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All of the plastics scratch and discolor.
Tempered is your fastest, easiest go.
You can ask about laminated glass. I don't know if it is made thin enough to fit shower framing. It is like your windshield.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG

spontaneously
thousands of small

glass.
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(I'm sorry,

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would be safe

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Laminated glass often isn't nearly as tough as tempered, many of them are just as brittle as glass. The only advantage is that the shards are (mostly) contained.
Tempered glass is amazingly tough, it'll stand up to just about anything.
Probably the door had a manufacturing defect. The next one won't do it.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Mark, I spent nearly 10 years in retail glass and we did a lot of new installs, as well as replacement for shower cubicles, so came upon many instances of this type of breakage. You didn't mention if it was one panel of several, framed or frameless, or how long it has been used prior to the incident, which can have a bearing on the best option, but will try to cover a few scenarios . . .
Without a doubt toughened should be your best bet. Never even seen a toughened panel breakage in a cubicle. It just shouldn't break with thermal shock of hot water hitting cold glass etc, and unless the edges are exposed (the weakest point) it should withstand quite strong hammer blows ! One reason I'm not a big fan of frameless doors is that a fairly moderate hit on the edge with a hard object can cause toughened to break. A very sharp impact can break toughened, eg we did lots of patio sliding door replacements over the years after someone had mowed the grass. Likely scenario is a small stone was flung and hit the glass, sometimes they explode much later in the day when temp changes caused thermal contraction or expansion.
As Chris said, it was most likely a manufacturing defect . . . but how long was it in situ before the incident ?
Laminated will be mildly safer, as the interlayer will hold the glass together quite well. It is commonly used in cheaper versions of cubicles in either 5.38mm or 6.38 thickness, but is weaker re impact, and hot water on cold glass will sometimes cause thermal breakage, but not quite as easy as the older out of date wired glasses. Bear in mind, with lam there would very likely still be some small splinters come from the break line (spalling).
Lexan (5mm or 6mm) could be your best option, it is tough, even moreso than toughened glass for impact, and should present no issues with safety. Just a cleaning / appearance issue over time, but that is minor compared to the other option. Some things to consider. Are there other panels you would need to change also ? Lexan is very expensive compared to any of the glasses mentioned above.
--
Regards,
Les
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as
this
on
Thank's for the detailed response. The shower door was newly installed just before I moved into the house. That would probably make it about 3 months old at a guess and was used roughly twice a day. It's (or was) a frameless door.

Is toughened the same as tempered or is is different to both tempered and laminated? (I'm a glass newbie so please excuse the ignorance!)
[snip]

than
a
Yes, this sounds like a good option. Worth the cost and I don't mind that it leaves water marks as glass does this anyway!

[snip]
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