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    Blast Resistant Windows


    What are blast resistant windows?


    Blast resistant windows, often mistakenly referred to as “bomb-proof windows”, are designed and manufactured to withstand and protect personnel from terrorist initiated explosions or accidental blasts at industrial facilities like oil refineries, LNG depots and chemical plants.


    What other types of buildings need blast resistant windows?


    Any building that is potentially at risk for an explosion or the target of a terrorist attack would be better served installing blast resistant windows. This will depend on budget and whether the project is new construction or an existing one that requires retrofit windows. A risk assessment is imperative to determine variables like building type and materials, perimeter standoff distances and risk of hostile attacks. Potential locations include:


    • Embassies
    • Nuclear plants
    • Military bases
    • Electric Utilities & Substations
    • Financial institutions and banks
    • Ports & Shipping yards
    • Airports
    • Train stations


    Are blast resistant windows different than ballistic resistant windows?


    Yes. Blast resistant windows safeguard property and personnel from an explosive threat whereas ballistic resistant windows are designed to protect against gunfire. These types of protection are not exclusive. Several top manufacturers make high security window products that are both blast resistant and ballistic resistant.


    How are blast resistant widows rated?


    Blast protection is very complicated because there are so many variables that influence how an explosion impacts the built environment, including:


    • Pressure
    • Duration
    • Impulse
    • Rebound
    • Response
    • Structure type
    • Location
    • Window size


    Adding to this complexity is the fact that Unified Field Criteria (UFC) mandated by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration (GSA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) all have blast resistant standards. Because manufacturers use different tests as well as combinations of these standards, understanding what all the ratings mean can be somewhat headache inducing as the following list illustrates:




    • UFC 4-010-01 follows the DoD’s Minimum Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings by setting minimum blast pressure requirements for windows. The requirements depend on the details of your construction project like location, building type, and occupancy parameters.


    How do you determine which standard and rating is best for your project?


    Protogetic’s professional guidance is to have a threat assessment performed and discuss your blast resistant needs and any mandated requirements directly with the manufacturer. Blast resistant protection is highly unique which is why most leading companies offer fully customizable options. For this reason, many blast resistant windows can be engineered and manufactured to your project’s exact specifications. You can discuss your project needs directly with the manufacturer’s representative by simply clicking the “CONTACT MANUFACTURER” button on the product page you are considering.


    What is a “bombproof” window?


    A myth. There is no such thing as a bombproof window. No window can protect personnel from every type of explosion and their blast strengths. It is safer, as well as best practices, to consider windows as being blast-resistant.


    What materials are blast resistant window frames made from?


    Blast windows can be made from steel, aluminum and composites.  Steel is very strong, heat and fire resistant and yet still can bend or flex inward to absorb the blast pressure.  This allows steel to weather the explosion’s pressure wave. Aluminum is also frequently used as it is also resilient while possessing the advantage of being lighter than steel. You can better understand how explosions cause damage by watching BLAST: An Anatomy of an Explosion, a Proto-Talk given by nationally recognized blast expert, Holly Stone.


    What type of glass is used for blast windows?


    Primarily used for residential windows, annealed glass is very weak and cannot withstand the forces generated by an explosion. While heat strengthened glass is two times stronger than residential consumer glass, it still poses a significant safety risk of injuring building occupants with dangerous shards. It is estimated that 90% of blast injuries are caused by flying glass.


    For optimal blast resistance and debris safety, blast windows often use thermally tempered glass, or TTG for short. Fully tempered glass is four times stronger than annealed glass and rather than producing deadly glass shards, it “crumples” much like car safety glass.


    Is polycarbonate glazing used for windows?


    Yes. The reason is simple. It’s 250 times stronger than safety glass and 30 times stronger than acrylic. The American trade name for polycarbonate is Lexan. The flexibility of this thermoplastic compound is also excellent at dissipating kinetic energy. Testing at nationally recognized labs has demonstrated that polycarbonate protects against explosions generating 900 psi.


    What if my building design requires non-standard window dimensions?


    As discussed above, the variables involved in calculating blast protection are extremely complicated and varied. For that reason, the leading manufacturers showcased on can accommodate custom dimensions. If you have questions about your project’s windows, you can get direct help from a manufacturer’s rep with just a single click of a button.


    Are blast resistant windows difficult to find?


    Not at Protogetic. We carry blast windows from leading manufacturers. You can search multiple blast variables like blast response and blast pressure as well as additional threat protections like ballistic resistance and forced entry. Protogetic also carries blast doors and blast resistant wall systems. So stop looking and start finding exactly what you need today!