You may well have been duped by Hollywood all these years into believing that there was something in this world known as bulletproof glass. It is easy to understand how a person could think something like that given the common references to it in movies and on television, but it turns out that there is no such thing as bulletproof glass.
A great movie plot line
There is this idea held in many movies that bulletproof glass is this fantastically designed piece of safety equipment that acts almost as armor. The way that the movie almost always spins it is that the glass is completely indestructible no matter what type of weapon is used against it. The hero in the movie can hide behind the glass and not be touched by bullets, swords, or anything else. He or she is safe from the villain, and the movie viewer doesn’t have to think anything more of it. That is the magic of the movies.
What we are really dealing with here
If it is the case that bulletproof glass doesn’t exist, then what is this material that is so often referenced in the movies? A better term for what we are looking at here is resistant. This is because the glass is indeed resistant to bullets or other materials that might come into contact with it, but it is not completely impenetrable at all times. If we are talking about a powerful enough bullet fired with enough velocity, it will still shatter that material.
Bulletproof “glass” isn’t actually glass
Another stunning fact is that so-called bulletproof “glass” isn’t actually glass at all. It is made of different materials than glass is, and that is part of what makes it so resistant to outside materials. There are three main ways that it is made, and we will take a look at each here.
Glass-Clad Polycarbonate Bullet-Resistant Glass- This material is thrown together with other materials to get the look and feel of bulletproof “glass” for the movies. It is most similar to the lamination process that most people are familiar with.
Acrylic- This material is a hard and clear plastic that looks quite a bit like glass itself. However, acrylic is a lot stronger than glass and can withstand a lot more. At the same time that it is stronger, it also weighs less than glass. That makes it a desirable material for a variety of reasons. Some bulletproof “glass” is made of this material, but there is no actual glass in the final product at all.
Polycarbonate- Another type of plastic that is sometimes used in the formation of so-called bulletproof “glass”. This one is a softer plastic though that is perhaps even stronger than acrylic. It is lighter than glass at only about 17% of the weight of glass, and it is very easy to work with. People say that it is what they prefer to use over other substances quite frequently.
The great trick the movies play
The best trick that movie makers play on you is to use on-way bullet-resistant glass. This is glass that has two layers of brittle glass and a more flexible material like the Polycarbonate material often used. Whenever the bullet in the movie hits the first layer it will shatter and make the second layer look like it completely withstood the bullet. That will make the glass appear as though it is bulletproof, and the audience is none the wiser.
You should not believe everything that you see or hear in the movies. The people who make them will use whatever tricks they need to in order to get you to believe that what they are showing you is the reality of the situation. Their job is to get you to suspend reality, and they are very good at the work that they do.