The use of glass in buildings has undergone a rapid transformation over the last few decades. Its traditional use as an infill panel is still popular, but an alternative structural use of glass has emerged in which glass elements contribute to the overall load bearing capacity of the structure or sub-structure. The original rules-of thumb for sizing infill glass panels are largely inadequate for this new generation of glass structures and a range of more rigorous design methods and prototype testing techniques are becoming available. This paper presents an overview of the design process for structural glass elements with an emphasis on analytical techniques and prototype testing methods for determining the tensile strength of glass elements. The paper also describes a novel stress-history interaction equation that is useful for determining the tensile strength of glass with accuracy and ease.
M. Overend, BE&A, MSc, PhD, CEng, MIStructE, MICE