Why Do Sudden Temperature Changes Crack Glass? Springfield Glass Explains

Perhaps you’ve experienced this scenario before. One of your drinking glasses cracked suddenly after heating up a cold beverage in the microwave. Or perhaps you see a crack in one of your windows that starts at the edge and works its way towards the middle, and it wasn’t there the day before.

We call this thermal fracturing. Today’s blog from Springfield Glass Company explains why sudden temperature changes cause cracks in glass.

Related Post: 5 Modern Kinds of Glass & How We Use Them by Springfield Glass Company

Underlying Cause of Thermal Fracturing

A temperature differential represents the main cause of thermal fracturing. Warmed areas expand or cold areas contract in the glass structure. Stresses develop because one area of the glass vibrates (at the molecular level) at a different rate compared to adjacent sections due to differences in temperature.

Situations That Lead to Thermal Fracturing

Springfield Glass Company has seen all kinds of cracked glass over the years. Some typical situations that lead to thermal fracturing include:

  • Hot and cold liquids in a glass cup
  • Solar heating on windows when the middle of the window gets hot but the edges are cool
  • Space heaters near windows or glass objects
  • Fire, either from fireplaces or uncontrolled fires

Where You Might See Cracked Glass

For solar heating on windows, you’ll probably see cracked glass on the edge of the window near the frame. The crack may expand inward towards the middle. Springfield Glass Company can help with a cracked window in your home!

Glassware and porcelain objects, such as a mug or plate, may crack suddenly due to stress caused by the microwave or boiling liquids suddenly poured into a cold glass or on a cold plate.

Placing a cold glass object on or near a space heater or fireplace might lead to cracking.

Preventing Cracked Glass

Cracked glass usually happens when there is a defect on the edge of the glass. Perhaps the edge of a window wasn’t finished properly. Maybe a well-used glass mug had a slight nick or ding in it.

You can prevent cracked glass in a number of ways:

  1. Install tempered or specialty glass for structural glass objects in your building.
  2. Use safety glass or glass film on windows.
  3. Purchase high-quality glassware for your kitchen.

Tempered or specialty glass is especially important for residential or commercial windows. This type of glass helps reduce radiant heat loss while limiting damage due to thermal fracturing. If your home has traditional glass panes, they may suffer from thermal fracturing during the summer. Our team can help alleviate those concerns.

Related Post: How to Winterize Your Windows by Springfield Glass Company  

Residential Glass by Springfield Glass Company 

The team at Springfield Glass Company has the expertise and knowledge to install high-quality residential glass for all kinds of situations, including cracked glass in your windows. Contact Springfield Glass Company online or call (417) 883-6555 for more information on our services.

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment