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Glass and the Evolution of Automotive Forms

2000, Volos / G.D.Liamadis


The development of advanced glass manufacturing processes has been strongly and interactively related to the evolution of automotive forms.  Transparent areas is an integral part of the car body, thus –apart from offering visibility and protection- playing a significant role in what designers call relation between solidness and emptiness in synthesis. The overall size of the glass surfaces indicate the function and character of the vehicle, reflect light and environment and change the drivers’ perception of speed. Due to the nature of the car, glass used in automotive manufacturing must fulfill specific requirements in terms of excellent visibility, safety in case of collision and protection against radiation and heat. In the last decades, development in glass manufacturing processes not only fulfilled such requirements but also rendered the feasibility of glass curvature and the construction of glass canopies, thus allowing car styling to move from boxy shapes of the early years towards more streamlined and organic forms. Latest concepts (such as “Project 2096”) developed by vehicle design research centres in specialised Universities such as Coventry School of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art suggest cars with LCD windows to the more extreme of no windows at all. Although communication between driver with the outer environment may soon be unnecessary thanks to the rapid development of ITSs (Intelligent Transportation Systems) and navigation systems, automotive forms lacking glass surfaces, are very unlikely to emerge due to social and psychological reasons.

1st Balkan Conference on "Glass Science & Technology", Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering - University of Thessaly, Institute of Materials Science – National Center for Scientific Research ‘Demokritos’ and the Greek Glass Federation, Volos, Greece, pp. 317-323

  Glass and the Evolution of Automotive Forms