The presentation starts by examining the fundamentals of glasses. What is a glass at the molecular level? What are the properties of this non-crystalline solid? How does this material behave under different conditions of stress and strain? What are the mechanics of the material? By examining and understanding the behavior at the microscopic level we leverage that understanding to use glass in unique ways on the large scale.
So now that we know the characteristics of the material we can push it and use it to it’s potential. As with most elements in structural design, it is rarely the case that we see bulk material failure – it is more often that we see connections of elements as the driving factor. Because glass has no ductility – it is perfectly elastic until it fractures – we cannot rely on energy dissipation in the form of local material deformation at connections, and we therefore must pay close attention to the behavior of connections in glass. We then walk through the progression of glass connections over the past 20 years and examine how advancements in glass technology, processing, and design have allowed us to progress.
With this understanding, we then look at a specific project and the engineering considerations that go into the design process. I walk through the process from fundamental approach, to detailed analysis and documentation, and finally to installation.
Lastly, I talk about some current areas of research like direct glass welding applications and the use of thin glass (like gorilla glass/phone screen glass) in some building applications.