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Sports Arena Glass: Why Boards Don't Shatter

Sports arena glass doesn’t shatter because it is tempered, making it more robust than regular glass.
Published March 24, 2017

Sports Arena Glass: Why Boards Don't Shatter

Have you ever been to a hockey game and wondered how the glass boards lining the rink withstood the constant impact of players and pucks slamming into them? Certainly, regular glass would shatter but the transparent material is different—it's made of tempered glass.

What makes hockey boards special?

Hockey boards and other sports arena glass applications are made of tempered glass. This material starts out as regular, or annealed, glass, but then it goes through a process that makes it much sturdier.

When glass is tempered, it is first heated in a tempering oven set to more than 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, it is cooled down through a procedure known as quenching when the hot glass is blasted with cold air from different angles in order to drop its temperature rapidly. Because the inner surface of the glass cools at a slightly slower rate than the outer surface, tension forms between them. This tenseness makes the glass remarkably stronger than regular glass.

As a result, sports arena glass does not shatter under impact.

But glass thickness also makes a difference in strength.

The thicker the glass, the stronger it is, making the material less likely to bow or warp under stress. Consequently, glass fabricators use thicker glass for sports arena applications.

While ½-inch-thick glass is a commonly used thickness, it can be too fragile in a sports setting, so 5/8-inch-thick glass is frequently utilized to make sure that the finished product can withstand significant amounts of pressure. Hockey fans may not care, but the difference is huge.

Interested in learning more? Here’s some additional information on what it means to temper glass.

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