Aluminum melts at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. That was just some of the information attendees of the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Fall Conference learned today when they toured Intertek’s Elmendorf, Texas, facility.

An attendee of GANA's Intertek tour checks out lite of glass that underwent impact testing.
An attendee of GANA’s Intertek tour checks out a lite of glass that underwent impact testing.

Tour attendees witnessed hurricane and tornado impact testing, as well as a number of fire tests. Thirty of the more than 100 Fall Conference participants took part in the tour. The conference is taking this week at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio.

Tracie Stanush, operations manager, building products at Intertek, welcomed the group to the facility. She explained that the focus of the company is to add value and ensure customers offer a safe and quality product.

“Our customers depend on us to make sure their products and procedures always meet the end user expectations,” she said.

Also before the tour of the facility, Valerie Block with Kuraray gave a presentation on tornado testing. She said that while tornadoes most commonly happen in the central U.S., they can happen anytime and anywhere.

She noted that there is a relationship between hurricanes and tornadoes. In fact, almost every hurricane spawns at least one tornado. Hurricane Ivan in 2004, for example, saw 117 tornadoes over the course of three days.

This piece of glass failed the impact test of a nine- pound 2-by-4 shot at 100 miles per hour.
This piece of glass failed the impact test of a nine- pound 2-by-4 shot at 100 miles per hour.

The correlation between the two also comes in the way of windborne debris. Testing for tornado glazing has taken place in similar ways to what is done in hurricane testing. A hurricane test for windborne debris involves firing a nine-pound 2-by-4, while in a tornado test, a 15-pound 2-by-4 is fired.

Her company, she said, went through numerous rounds of testing. While there were many trials and failures, they have ultimately tested a product system that passed.

Tour participants were able to witness both types of testing, as well. In today’s tour a nine-pound 2-by-4 was fired at 34 miles per hour and at 100 miles per hour. Tour guide John Waskow with Intertek, explained that normally the 100 miles per hour test would have been with a 15-pound board, but one was not available for today’s test.

“In this line of work, you never actually know what will happen. That’s why we test,” said Waskow.

Today, both tests resulted in failures. These are not uncommon. Waskow said they can happen for a number of reasons, often due to quality control, such as using the wrong interlayer or not allowing the sealant to cure long enough.

Herb Stansberry, also with Intertek, led the group through various other areas of the facility. This included a fire test of the entire wall assembly, which included three glass panels, one of which was wired glass; the other two were high-temperature glass.

While the fire test was not focused on the glass specifically, the wired glass did begin to crack within seconds. Within five minutes, the temperature was up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. While the test today did not include the hose stream, they did remove the wall to show how one would be done. Stansberry reminded those on the tour that the hose stream tests for mechanical and thermal shock impact.

The tour also included various other parts of the lab including flammability testing, wire and cable testing, air leakage testing and more.

Following the tour, the Fall Conference meetings began at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio and will continue through Friday. Stay tuned to USGNN.com™ for more news and reports from the conference.