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Glass stands in a league of its own

“Glass is a smart, adaptable and versatile material, lending itself to endless possibilities both in terms of design and functionality, across exterior and interior applications,” says Somasundaram Senthilkumar, Business Head – Projects, Architectural Division, Asahi India Glass Ltd.
 Land is a commodity today. Land is scarce and doesn’t come cheap. In this scenario, going vertical seems a reasonable solution, and glass is an essential part of design of a tall building in modern day architecture. Glass is one material that is aesthetically sound, eco-friendly and economically viable. In an exclusive conversation with ACE Update, Somasundaram Senthilkumar talks about the opportunities in tall buildings segment, and how Asahi is tapping those opportunities.
Trend about tall buildings in IndiaThe trend about tall buildings is gaining traction in urban India. With the increasing population and demand for accommodation, space has become a commodity these days. Due to high land prices, construction costs and unavailability of land, people opt for high-rise buildings. A few years back, Mumbai was the only city in India with high-rise buildings. It still continues to see the highest demand for tall buildings as the only option to grow there is vertically. However, other Indian cities will also see various similar projects in the future. The demand for skyscrapers is certainly growing in India since they are efficient with respect to land use, serve many people simultaneously from single set of infrastructure and service and provide more space.
Essential Asahi productsGlass is an essential part of design of a tall building in modern day architecture. Apart from its aesthetical value, glass facades in a building exterior should also fulfil basic criteria like protection against fire, forced intrusion and climatic influence.Construction of these buildings requires structural systems to withstand high wind loads as near high-rise buildings. Glass failure can occur because of impact (localised contact with a force which can overcome the strength of the glass) or thermal stress (when the centre of the glass is heated by the sun and the edges remain cool, the centre of the glass expands but is restricted from natural expansion by the cool edges. This results in stress within the glass that could cause thermal breakage).
Also, high-rise buildings absorb direct solar heat and reflected solar radiation of surrounding low-rise buildings and convert it into heat via convection of long wave radiation. However, when buildings are of different heights, the walls of the higher buildings absorb part of the reflected and emitted radiation and block a portion of the sky, resulting in reduced solar exposure and long-wave emission from the roofs of the lower buildings.
Asahi has a wide portfolio of glass products and solutions which are necessary for facades.
Tempered and toughened glass: Glass is strong to compressive forces and weak against tensile stresses. Toughening is a process which makes the glass invulnerable to tensile stresses too, by imparting strength to the glass that makes it 4-5 times stronger than normal annealed glasses. The process involves slow heating the glass in tempering furnaces, up 680 C, which happens to be the softening point of glass and then rapidly cooling it by blowing air on either side at room temperature. This causes the surface of the glass to harden. A stable compressive stress layer is formed which makes the glass nearly unbreakable and 4-5 times stronger than normal annealed glasses. In the event of breakage, tempered glass breaks into small, relatively blunt glass fragments. The brand name of tempered glass by Asahi is AIS Stronglas.
Laminated glass: Laminated glass is safety glass that has been manufactured by adhering two or more sheets of glass together with a flexible PVB interlayer. The bond between the glass and interlayer can absorb accidental human impact. Even if the glass breaks, the fragments adhere to the interlayer thus minimising injury. Laminated glass offers greater protection for people and property by providing an effective barrier when under attack. Also, laminated glasses have excellent sound insulation properties.  The range of specialised laminated glass from Asahi includes Valuglas (heat-strengthened laminated glass with 1.14-mm PVB interlayer), Securityglas (intrusion-resistant laminated glass with 1.52-mm PVB interlayer), Securityplus (Dupont Sentry Glass interlayer makes it 5 times stronger and 100 times stiffer than conventional laminating materials) and Acousticglas (noise-cancelling glass).
Reflective glass (high-performance glass): A metallic coating is applied to one side of the glass to significantly increase the ability of the glass to reflect both the visible and infra-red (light and heat) range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Reflective glass — also known as solar control glass — reduces heat gain and glare from the exterior and allows optimum visible light transmission to the interior. It facilitates energy savings through reduction in interior solar heat gain and cost reduction in the cost of heating and cooling systems. It also improves occupants comfort as interior temperature variations are less and easier to control and it reduces the air- conditioning load of the buildings. Asahi offers a wide portfolio of high-performance glasses. The hard coat range includes AIS Opal which is available in 5 vibrant shades. The soft coat range Ecosense, the green standard in glass, comes in three categories: Enhance (solar control), Exceed (solar control low-E) and Essence (low-E) high-performance glasses. Ideal for solar and thermal insulating parameters, Ecosense combines aesthetics with environmental sensibility and conforms to all international and national green standards, making it the natural choice as a green building solution.
Opportunities in tall buildings segmentDue to its fragile nature, the use of glass to bring natural light into buildings was earlier restricted only to windows and other small installations. But due to the development of new construction techniques and glass production methods, the inner strength of this material is being revealed, and it is now considered a viable choice for more complex structural requirements.
Glass is now being used for facades on an unprecedented scale to create remarkable designs and yield eco-savings. Use of glass in façades gives a dramatic effect to the building and gives a contemporary look. Glass panel façade systems offer versatile, high-performance coverage, with a wide range of stylish design possibilities.
It is one material that is aesthetically sound, eco-friendly and economically viable. It is a smart, adaptable and versatile material, lending itself to endless possibilities both in terms of design and functionality, across exterior and interior applications. All in all, glass stands in a league of its own. The reason for this is simple to understand – glass enhances the visual appeal of buildings, adds a touch of modernity and elegance, and helps the building gain recognition for its stylish and luxurious architecture.
As India’s leading integrated glass company, Asahi India Glass has been continuingly innovating and coming up with new, better and safe products, providing designers with the flexibility to create tall architectural structures which are high performing and visually exciting. Asahi conducts studies at each site to assist the customers in glass selection. The AIS 4G solutions —including glass selection, glass product, glass processing and glass integration — give clients customised solutions. The technical team of AIS conducts building simulations to help architects and consultants decide the design strategies, improve energy efficiency, select the right building material, and reduce the construction costs.


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