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SpewLabour

Exploding Glass Showers

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Has anyone experienced this? About half an hour ago I heard a God awful bang - I thought the roof had fallen off. Went outside, and saw my neighbours milling about. Turned out their flashy glass shower had spontaneously exploded. They took me up to have a look, and the door was in a thousand of pieces on the floor, and I could still hear and see the remaining glass fragments popping and cracking. If anyone had been in it, it could have been very nasty !!! :o

I heard it from next door and on the opposite side of the house. It must have been terrifying in the same house. I'm glad I take baths and not showers now.

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I had a large glass shelf do exactly this a couple of months ago, so have looked into it.

It's nothing to do with temperature. It's due to low quality toughened glass. The toughening process works by cold-shocking hot glass, causing stress to be locked into the glass structure.

Low quality glass can contain tiny grains of nickel sulphide as an impurity. These concentrate the stress around them. But more importantly, they are unstable; the glass melting process causes them to form in a certain unstable crystal structure, which gets locked in when the glass is cooled. However, over time, the crystal structure can revert to its normal stable formal. When this happens the nickel sulphide grain changes shape; this puts extra stress on the surrounding glass causing it to shatter.

This has been known about for decades, after several high profile cases where large glass panes on "all glass" skyscrapers shattered spontaneously causing injuries or death to passers by. The big UK, US and European glass manufacturers have strict quality control procedures in place. Toughened glass is only made from virgin materials (never recycled) from sources that are known to be pure and free of nickel. The suppliers are vetted and only suppliers which can guarantee no nickel parts on their quarrying and transport equipment are eligible to supply the materials, and the glass factories themselves don't use nickel parts. In addition, the UK suppliers can also use a second heat treatment process which is supposed to "encourage" the nickel sulphide to change crystal state, while the glass is still partially soft.

Chinese suppliers of glass are known not to follow such strict quality control procedures.

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I had a large glass shelf do exactly this a couple of months ago, so have looked into it.

It's nothing to do with temperature. It's due to low quality toughened glass. The toughening process works by cold-shocking hot glass, causing stress to be locked into the glass structure.

Low quality glass can contain tiny grains of nickel sulphide as an impurity. These concentrate the stress around them. But more importantly, they are unstable; the glass melting process causes them to form in a certain unstable crystal structure, which gets locked in when the glass is cooled. However, over time, the crystal structure can revert to its normal stable formal. When this happens the nickel sulphide grain changes shape; this puts extra stress on the surrounding glass causing it to shatter.

This has been known about for decades, after several high profile cases where large glass panes on "all glass" skyscrapers shattered spontaneously causing injuries or death to passers by. The big UK, US and European glass manufacturers have strict quality control procedures in place. Toughened glass is only made from virgin materials (never recycled) from sources that are known to be pure and free of nickel. The suppliers are vetted and only suppliers which can guarantee no nickel parts on their quarrying and transport equipment are eligible to supply the materials, and the glass factories themselves don't use nickel parts. In addition, the UK suppliers can also use a second heat treatment process which is supposed to "encourage" the nickel sulphide to change crystal state, while the glass is still partially soft.

Chinese suppliers of glass are known not to follow such strict quality control procedures.

Cheap Chinese sh*t is the word that always comes first to my mind when I hear about these sorts of incidents

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What a strange coincidence. This evening my sister in law was telling me about the glass panel on their shower, that had recently shattered in the middle of the night. Her fiancee was sleeping alone in the house at the time & was quite rightly terrified by it.

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Cheap Chinese sh*t is the word that always comes first to my mind when I hear about these sorts of incidents

Yep, but of course it could be top quality British glass and be over stressed by a less than competent fitter (possibly British too?).

It's strange, but in all my years i have never ever had a glass explode on me whilst it sat in a cupboard.....

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What a strange coincidence. This evening my sister in law was telling me about the glass panel on their shower, that had recently shattered in the middle of the night. Her fiancee was sleeping alone in the house at the time & was quite rightly terrified by it.

Just another reason to avoid shower screens, IMO. All too often they don't quite fit properly and are not quite wide enough to stop water going over the floor. Not to mention all the cleaning.

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I had a large glass shelf do exactly this a couple of months ago, so have looked into it.

It's nothing to do with temperature. It's due to low quality toughened glass. The toughening process works by cold-shocking hot glass, causing stress to be locked into the glass structure.

Very interesting ChumpusRex. I'd seen Prince Rupert's drops on a science show but had no idea that the same stresses were created inside toughened glass.

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I had the inner glass door of an oven shatter when I had my dinner cooking. Needless to say, I went hungry that night. Had to go and get another oven ASAP as there was no way I was using it anymore....too dangerous.

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Yep, but of course it could be top quality British glass and be over stressed by a less than competent fitter (possibly British too?).

It's strange, but in all my years i have never ever had a glass explode on me whilst it sat in a cupboard.....

That's because tableware glass generally isn't pre stressed. You can tell by whether or not it breaks into small pieces or massive great nasty looking shards.

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Had an oven glass door fail on the in a rental. The landlord replaced straight away. His guys said mine was the second to go and be replaced on his job lot of ovens. It was some noname thing made in Turkey. Whole batch may have had faulty glass :(

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