You are on page 1of 4


4 November 2010

TRW Development Sdn Bhd

Suite 3.03, 3rd Floor
Menara Multi Purpose
Capital Square
8, Jalan Munshi Abdullah
50100 Kuala Lumpur

Attention: Mr Neil Craggs

Dear Sir


- Spontaneous Glass Breakages

The meeting regarding the above captioned with the presence of yourself, our
Contracts Manager, Mr. Mohamad Sofi Taib, the Façade Consultant’s
representative, Mr. Zulkainain Abdullah, our Build Contractor’s
representative, Mr. Tan Chuan Han and the undersigned held in your office
on 28 November 2010 refers.

We write to confirm that based on the test result of the spontaneous glass
breakages that has been tested and produced by the laboratory in Singapore
namely, TUV SUD PSB Pte.Ltd, the Façade Consultant has concurred the

i. Heat Tempering Process (Tempered Glass)

The contract specification has called on Glass Tempering process to cater
for the size to withstand the loading on its design and it is considered as a
safety glass as it shatters in small granules as compared to annealed/float

When the glass is heated up, during the tempering process, the NiS
inclusion changes isotope and increases its volume. When the glass is
sudden cooled, the NiS inclusion remains its larger size and causes a
stress concentration in the glass.

ii. Spontaneous Breakage of the Tempered Glass:

Generally, the spontaneous breakage of tempered glass is due to the
stress concentration near the impurity particles in the tensile stress zone
of the glass. The common characteristic of spontaneous breakage is
known as butterfly shaped pattern at the source of the crack. In many
- Letter Of Undertaking
28 October 2010
cases, an impurity particle leading to the spontaneous breakage can be
found in the middle of the butterfly shaped piece.
Nickel Sulphide (NiS) inclusion
NiS inclusions are impurities in the ingredients used to make glass. A
critical inclusion which can cause spontaneous breakage of a glass panel is
120microns in diameter. This is too small to see with the naked eye. NiS
inclusions laid in the tension zone of the glass by phase transformation
with volume change about 3~4% increase.

Most Glass manufacturers have improved their QA procedures to minimise

the incidence of NiS inclusions in their glass, but NiS inclusions are too
small to eliminate entirely.

Besides NiS, there are other natural occurring elements found in the raw
material of the anneal glass during the molten glass production. After the
glass product is formed, these impurities are embedded in the final

This issue was assessed as part of the factory inspection held to

determine the elements found in the annealed glass used for the
tempering process by the processor.

Installation Damage & Object

The surface defects such as scratches, edge chips and other external
collision/impact factors too may induce in the spontaneous breakage
phenomenon. These small nicks or chips may not result in immediate
breakage. However, over time, as the glass expands and contracts, stress
concentrations can develop around the surface defect and break entirely.

To minimize the occurrence of the surface defect caused by installation

damage, the curtain wall was designed to be Unitized System where
frames & glass were assembled in a control environment and later to be
hoisted, installed and fixed into position to reduce the likelihood of
installation damage.

Moreover, space is provided at the perimeter of the unitized frame with

sealant, eliminating internal stresses to develop in the glass which can
exceed the strength of glass resulting in breakage.

iii. Heat Soak Process

In practice, there is so call heat soaking process to minimize the post-
spontaneous breaking of tempered glass caused by nickel sulphide (NiS).

Heat soaking is an extra process carried out after the glass has been
tempered. The Heat Soak Process, recently proposed as an European
Standard (prEN 14179-1), was developed to minimise the problem with
spontaneous breakage.

It is a destroying test, inducing failure in those glass lights bearing critical

sized NiS inclusions by a 2 hour’s heat treatment at 290 ± 10°C. Other
‘standards require a furnace (or glass surface) temperature between 250
and 360°C and time at the HS temperature of between 1 and 12 hours.
- Letter Of Undertaking
28 October 2010

Heat soaking is to expedite the transformation of NiS inclusion from high

temperature phase to low temperature stable phase with phase
transformation temperature at high temperature, intending to break the
glass prior to delivery to customers.

The prEN 14179-1 and other ’standards’ give no guidance as to what to do

with the glass after the Heat Soaked process. Should (for example) the
whole batch be rejected if, say, 3% fail in the HS process/ Alternatively,
may it be assumed that the glass which passes through the HS process
will not fail in service with spontaneous failures.

Also, some ‘standards’ require a 100% heat soak; i.e. all glass panels
must be heat soaked. Others require a certain percentage soaked (e.g.
10%) and the whole of the glass batch is rejected if a certain percentage
(say 3%) of the Heat Soaked glass fails in the oven.

Lately heat soaking practice is even standardized, and many glass

manufacturers are requested to do the soaking test before delivery. It is
generally commercially considered that the success rate of heat soaking
may be taken as being a confidence level of 95%. Nevertheless, it does
not guarantee total elimination of all nickel sulphide inclusions. In fact,
quite a few heat soaked tempered glass still breaks spontaneously in
service and its effectiveness is therefore doubtable and such process
which costs money and time does not seem to be justified.

iv. Potential Future Breakages

Concentration of Nickel Sulphide in glass

Various researchers have attempted to define the concentration of NiS in
batches of glass. These estimates have ranged from
a. One (1) inclusion for every four tonnes [Centre for Window and
Cladding Technology, Glass in buildings breakage – the influence of
nickel sulphide. 1st Edition.];
b. One (1) inclusion in every six tonnes [Kasper, A, New Measurements
of NiS Transformation Kinetics to Better Understanding Heat Soak Test
Breakage Data. Glass Processing Days. 18 - 21 June 2001].
c. Pilkington’s have stated that in the Seventies they found concentration
of one inclusion in every 500 kilograms,
d. Kasper has reported batches with concentrations as low as 1 in 38.5
tonnes of raw glass [Kasper, A, New Measurements of NiS
Transformation Kinetics to Better Understanding Heat Soak Test
Breakage Data. Glass Processing Days. 18 - 21 June 2001].

Additionally, for a statistical calculation of the break probability of HS-

Processed glass panes, the break probability of unprocessed float glass
is needed. We actually have informations about the HST break rate of
more than 25’000 tons of float glass from different production and
tempering sites. The overall mean number is 8.7 tons per break (table
1), equivalent to 11.5 breaks per 100 tons of processed glass. We
assume this figure to be representative also for real breaks on
buildings, i.e. the HST to break exactly the glasses that would have
- Letter Of Undertaking
28 October 2010
broken spontaneously on buildings, although this seems to be a rather
high estimation that is rarely observed on buildings equipped with
unprocessed glass. To be really sure and conservative in our
calculation, we assume the maximum number to be one break in six
tons because some of the figures in table 1 are in this relatively high
range. [Kasper, A, Heat Soaking Avoids Spontaneous Cracking Of
Thermally Toughened Safety Glass]

Table 1: Break statistics in HST ovens.

tons breaks t per break
A91-00 13569 874 15.5
B93-99 13642 2262 6.0
C 688 108 6.4
D 241 46 5.2
E 539 14 38.5
Total 28679 3304 8.7

There is no definitive and proven concentration of NiS in any glass, so further

monitoring will be necessary before this statistics can be quantified. It would
be ideal to have a worst case scenario of concentration, which will help
establish the success or failure rate of any new heat soak regime [“Nickel
Sulphide Inclusions – Important Issues for the Designer” by Jacob and
Calderone; proceedings of “Glass Processing Days” Conference 2003].
We trust the above is in order

Yours faithfully

Head of Construction – Domestic

cc TRW Boulevard Square Sdn Bhd

- Mr Dominic Hernon & Cik Rashidah Abu Bakar

Pembinaan SPK Sdn Bhd – without attachments

- En. Saiful Aznir Shahabudin

Davis Langdon & Seah – without attachments

- Mr. Teoh Tek Chong Justin
(SL/MST/(TRW-0000 )