Spontaneous Breakage: An Old Problem Surfaces Anew

Spontaneous breakage in tempered glass is caused by a nickel-sulfide contaminant present in the glass material matrix. The contaminant can result in the unpredictable breaking of the glass at any point during its service life. The known effective strategy to reduce the occurrence of spontaneous breakage when using tempered glass is heat-soaking. Despite this, there have been increasing occurrences involving significant quantities of glass in building facades.

Learning objectives:

1. Understand the physics of spontaneous breakage of tempered glass due to nickel-sulfide inclusion.
2. The history and recent pattern of occurrences of spontaneous breakage.
3. The significant risk to property owners and the building industry.
4. A strategy to minimize the potential for spontaneous breakage.


Frank Zagar

Architectural Glass, Zagar Ltd.

Photo of Bob Paal

Bob Paal

BPA Products

Yi-Hsiu Yeh

Senior Associate, Verse Design LA

Lisa Rammig

Eckersley O'Callaghan (EOC Engineers)