Windshield Repair Defined

Jul 24, 2003

When a rock or flying debris strikes your windshield, a certain amount of glass is displaced and air and moisture works its way into the damaged area.  Windshield repair involves injection of a special resin into the damaged area using a tool that attaches directly to the glass.  Once injected, this resin is then cured and polished to restore the clarity to the glass.  When a chip or crack occurs, it often spreads into the windshield's inner layer of plastic, called Poly Vinyl Butyral, or PVB, which is sandwiched between two layers of glass.  In some instances, a drill is used to make a clean passageway to the plastic, where the resin is injected to repair the damage.  Windshield repair performs several functions; it prevents the damage from spreading to the rest of the windshield, and the visual clarity of the damaged area is improved, especially if the repair is made sooner than later before contaminants find their way into the windshield and cannot be easily removed.  Some also say that the structural integrity of the windshield is improved, though no publicly available tests are known to exist to support this claim.    

Restoring the windshield's structural strength should be a top priority for repairers, because structural strength relates directly to the safety of the driver and passengers.  The average tensile strength of windshield glass is between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi).  The strength of a damaged windshield is obviously less.  Therefore, the challenge facing a repair system is to repair the windshield and return its strength to that approaching or equaling its undamaged strength, and preventing flying glass (called spalling) from injuring vehicle occupants.

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