We encounter glass composites in everyday life not only in the form of windshields or safety glass; they are also in every smartphone, where lead silicate glass, for example, protects the sensitive chip from environmental influences. Glass-polymer composites can also be used to provide beverage and food containers with a protective layer that allows a considerable reduction in weight and protects the surface against scratches.
Internally coated composites of glass and glass ceramic are used for special solar collectors. The composite protects the internal absorber coating and mirroring and provides particularly good thermal insulation.
In the future, glass composites should also help to increase the strength of windows and reduce the specific weight per unit area. The use of high-performance polymers makes it possible to produce thin sandwich structures. Intelligent interplay of the refractive indices of the individual components makes it possible to produce glass composites of high optical purity without negatively affecting the transparency of the glass. On the contrary, by using glass microparticles as an additive, the mechanical properties of the polymer can even be positively influenced. At the same time, these particles act as a thermal barrier, so that in the future these windows will contribute to the thermal management of rooms and buildings.