Windshields and Thermal Effects
Name: Steve M.
Date: February 2004
We are investigating the effects of heat and cold temperatures on windshield glass. Any
suggestions where to find out what causes cracks to form and expand in different temperatures?
This is a difficult experimental investigation because "Detroit" sees to it that it occurs as
infrequently as possible for obvious reasons, so you do not have a large sample size to start
with. Underlying all windshield failures is the formation of stresses in the glass. These can often
be detected by viewing the glass between two polarizers (available at science supply sources). The
presence of stresses does not predict failure, but failure is usually preceded by stresses set up in
the windshield glass.
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Update: June 2012