Polycarbonate's Not A Cracker: 3 Things You Should Know About Bulletproof Windshields

Whether you fear criminals, terrorists, or a zombie apocalypse, you may be considering installing a bulletproof windshield in your vehicle. You're not alone. In fact, many windshield repair and replacement companies now offer bulletproof glass as an option.

There are a few things to understand about bulletproof auto glass:

1) Today's bulletproof vehicle glass is layered with polycarbonate.

To make curved, bulletproof auto glass, layers of glass, adhesive and polycarbonate are sandwiched together to provide added strength to the windshield. The polycarbonate is 30 times stronger than acrylic, and helps provide the ballistics protection in the bulletproof windshield.

Polycarbonate is tough, but is susceptible to damage from scratching, flame, and chemicals. Combining it with glass protects it from abrasion and high heat, while adding stability and strength to the glass.

Bulletproof glass is thicker and heavier than standard glass, so it adds more weight to the vehicle, and may require some adjustments to the vehicle to make it seal properly.

2) It won't work in every type of car or truck.

If your vehicle has no upper door frame, it's probably not going to be a good fit for bulletproof glass. The same goes for convertible cars, since they lack enough roof support to keep the windshield stable.

Many sports cars are not good choices for bulletproof windshields, due to the structure of the autos or the lack of room for thicker glass. While slanted glass is better at resisting puncture by bullets, if the windshield is in a certain raked or sloped position, it may be more difficult to make the bulletproof glass secure in the windshield frame.

It's best to ask your auto glass repair professionals if they think your car, truck, or van is a good candidate for bulletproof glass.

3) New bulletproof materials are on the way.

One new product being hailed as a potential lifesaver is a micro-thin laminate that can be applied to vehicle windshields. This coating is being proposed as a safety measure for law enforcement vehicles. It works both ways for officers, allowing them to return fire through the glass without being harmed by bullets aimed at the inside of the police cruisers.

Another exciting development is the creation of see-through aluminum, which is inexpensive, doesn't block infrared light, and is very lightweight compared to other types of bulletproof materials. One setback has been the inability to manufacture this glass in large sheets, but scientists and engineers are overcoming these obstacles.

When you have a bulletproof windshield or film installed in your vehicle, be sure to learn how to use and care for it properly. You may have to use special cleaning solutions and cloths to avoid damaging surfaces or adhesives.