XXL glass will be a key theme to inspire designs in architecture at glasstec 2018 in Düsseldorf, Germany on 23rd-26th October.

Over the last few years, the topic of larger glass sizes for design and aesthetics has become popular. Lengths of up to 18 metres are now possible and one company already has its sights set on the 20-metre mark in 2018.

Glass manufacturers such as Sedak, Thiele Glas, AGC Interpane and Saint-Gobain are setting the tone for what is feasible in the development of XXL glass. Each company is now able to produce 18 x 3.21 metre glass and Sedak is already envisaging 3.51 x 20 metres from mid-2018.

Depending on the customer’s preferences, the finishing of XXL glass involves the same stages as any other glass: processing (i.e. cutting, drilling and edge treatment), pre-tensioning (partial toughening, safety tempering and heat soak testing), ceramic printing (web-feed and digital printing), coating and laminating. AGC Interpane and Sedak are currently both in a position to make multi-pane thermal glasses up to 3.21 x 15 metres.

The XXL glass exhibited at glasstec 2018 will be multifunctional. It is now specially cut, curved, bent, has striking printing and can be dimmed as little or as much as required.

XXL glass focuses on edge seals and sun protection. At least one edge is limited to a length of 3.2 metres, so that the deadweight for larger glass increases disproportionately on the narrow side, due to the manufacturing process. Depending on the mounting of the glass onto the façade, the bond on the edge seal must achieve far more to ensure structural stability and to satisfy the need for impermeability.

For XXL glass, switchable glazing is a smart solution, which will address glare, aesthetics and wind load. Switchable glass technology makes it possible to trigger the tint actively or passively. The most promising solution is currently the active electrochromic variety, such as EControl glass, with internal and nanostructured coating. The glass turns blue when a low voltage is applied, creating the so-called ‘electrochromic effect’.

Pictured: XXL glass from Sedak