How bulletproof glass increase school security

A glass window and a table

The discovery of bulletproof glass dates as far back as the 17th century when Prince Rupert of England placed molten glass in cold water and found that the glass became almost indestructible after. A little above a century ago, Edouard Benedictus, a Frenchman, who is also a chemist, accidentally discovered that a glass flask which contained liquid nitrate solution when impacted by a force strong enough to break it gave a different result. Instead of the glass being broken and shattered into glass shards, he noticed that they remained compact even after several impacts. He held his explanations to the fact that the nitrate solution invariably coats glass surfaces with a plastic layer which helps in retaining adhesion. This hallmark, however, led to several curiosities and questionings that form the basis and starting point for the Research and Development of bullet proof glass.

The first bullet proof glass windows were used practically during the World War II when sheets of tempered glass were roughly laminated into thick panes to become relatively impenetrable.

Bulletproof glass (also known as ballistic glass) is a type of glass that is highly resistant to penetration when struck. Its transparent nature earned it the name transparent armour because of its optical transparency. 

How is bulletproof glass made?

The aim of making bulletproof glass is to produce materials that have the same appearance and clarity as a standard glass but with more intrinsic properties. This is to enhance effective protection against undue compromise coming from sources ranging from small impact levels to relatively larger impact levels.

The bullet-resistant glass is constructed using many layers of laminated glass. The more the layers of lamination, the more the effective protection offered by the transparent armour. The major idea behind the bullet-proofing mechanism is the lamination of the polycarbonate (which is a conjugating thermoplastic in this instance) on the safe (internal) side such that shattering of the glass into shards is prevented by keeping the integrity of the glass window, door or as the case may be. Polycarbonate embeds designs such as Armormax, Cryolon, and Makroclear which are essentially soft layers that coat the inner surface of the glass and heals after being scratched.

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The ability of their security

The ability of the polycarbonate layers to stop the bullets depends on its thickness. The bullet proof glass of this particular design may be up to 3.7inches thick. Apart from its impressive resistance against bullets and rifles, its strength increases and gets more reinforced on chemical attacks. This means that the bulletproof glass gets stronger when treated with chemical processes.

Most of the bullets are made of lead which can deform and melt as a result of the heat generated from heavy impacts on hard surfaces. However, a hammer concentrated on a smaller surface area of the glass and repeatedly struck at a good enough speed can compromise the integrity of the bulletproof glass. This is because of the great heat generated by the large striking hammer and the dissipation of heat over a small surface area.

Explosives such as grenades, dynamite, and C4 are more dangerous and intense forms of attack against the bulletproof glass. The transparent amour breaks at the impact of these explosives when brought in a very close range. The glass, however, can survive such attacks when made in ranges above 3 feet. The explosives maximize their effectiveness in ranges lesser than that. Effective security survey is the major way out of unwanted explosions as the modes of action of explosives are quite creepier than those of bullets and rifles.

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Installation and management

The installation of bulletproof glass is not overly complicated but needs proper training for the process to be frictionless and effective. Contractors that have been specially trained to install the glass armor should be consulted for the installation. The success of the installation lies in the depth of professionalism.

The greater heaviness of this type of glass compared to their normal counterpart calls for a separate management policy. More danger is posed at a bulletproof glass from improper management than when fired repeatedly with gun bullets on its exterior side. This means that the management should be held in very high esteem as mismanagement can lead to compromise.

Rules for cleaning bullet resistant windows and doors

  • Dust gently with a soft lint-free cloth.
  • Wash with a solution of warm water with dissolved detergent using a soft cloth or natural sponge.
  • Use hexane at intervals to remove grease and oil from its surface. Never use aromatic compounds like Benzene.
  • You can buff out surface scratches on Acrylic glass by hand.
  • Polish the surfaces with commercial wax. This helps to fill minor scratches and restore the smooth surface.

How they improve school security

The world has evolved into something entirely different from what we used to know and it’s no news that schools do not feel as safe as they once did. The changes have brought some levels of insecurities and consequently, there has to be some adaptations to ensure the proper running of the school system.

Learning is an active process and a lot of energy has being been pumped in by school administrators in ensuring that the safety of both teachers and students are not compromised. They have accomplished this by creating a closed environment for learning, invested in proper conditioning of the walls and roofs against harsh weather conditions and hired security personnel to oversee the conduct of people but the last thing on the mind of most administrators is to install bulletproof glass to secure the teachers and students from gunfire and related attacks which is perhaps the most important security measure in the modern day schooling system.

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A 100% safety cannot be guaranteed in a school building but the best can be done to get as close as possible. It is the responsibility of the administrators to fix the security needs and remain abreast to the pressing demands and pressure from society even as it affects the teachers and students.

It has been proven that people function best when they have a good sense of security. This goes a long way in affecting the sense of safety of the students as they learn and teachers as they are sometimes exposed to high-risk students.

When occurrences can no longer be predicted, bulletproof glass installation will go a long way in providing proper safety and security for the teachers and students both physically and mentally.

On a final note, it is important to know that as a school administrator, your goal should be to create the safest possible environment to protect school children from all forms of harm. Going extra to installing bulletproof doors and windows will go a long way in upgrading the school security status and building the overall confidence the students have while in school.

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