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The windshield or windscreen of an aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

, car
Čar is a village in the municipality of Bujanovac, Serbia. According to the 2002 census, the town has a population of 296 people.-References:...

, bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

, motorbike or tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 is the front window
A window is a transparent or translucent opening in a wall or door that allows the passage of light and, if not closed or sealed, air and sound. Windows are usually glazed or covered in some other transparent or translucent material like float glass. Windows are held in place by frames, which...

. Modern windshields are generally made of laminated safety glass
Laminated glass
Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered. In the event of breaking, it is held in place by an interlayer, typically of polyvinyl butyral , between its two or more layers of glass. The interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high...

, a type of treated glass, which consists of two (typically) curved sheets of glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

 with a plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 layer laminate
A laminate is a material that can be constructed by uniting two or more layers of material together. The process of creating a laminate is lamination, which in common parlance refers to the placing of something between layers of plastic and gluing them with heat and/or pressure, usually with an...

d between them for safety, and are glue
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

d into the window frame. Motorbike windshields are often made of high-impact acrylic plastic.


Windshields protect the vehicle's occupants from wind and flying debris such as dust, insects, and rocks, and providing an aerodynamically formed window towards the front. UV Coating may be applied to screen out harmful ultraviolet radiation. On motorbikes their main function is to shield the rider from wind, though not as completely as in a car, whereas on sports and racing motorcycles the main function is reducing drag when the rider assumes the optimal aerodynamic configuration with his or her body in unison with the machine, and does not shield the rider from wind when sitting upright.


Early windshields were made of ordinary window glass, but that could lead to serious injuries in the event of a crash. A series of lawsuits led up to the development of stronger windshields. The most notable example of this is the Pane vs. Ford case of 1917 that decided against Pane in that he was only injured through reckless driving
Reckless driving
Reckless driving is a major moving traffic violation. As a legal term, it is used within the United States. This offence has been abolished in the United Kingdom and replaced...

. They were replaced with windshields made of toughened glass
Toughened glass
Toughened or tempered glass is a type of safety glass processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared with normal glass. Tempering creates balanced internal stresses which cause the glass, when broken, to crumble into small granular chunks instead of...

 and were fitted in the frame using a rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

 or neoprene
Neoprene or polychloroprene is a family of synthetic rubbers that are produced by polymerization of chloroprene. Neoprene in general has good chemical stability, and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range...

Seal (mechanical)
A mechanical seal is a device which helps join systems or mechanisms together by preventing leakage , containing pressure, or excluding contamination...

. The hardened glass shattered into many mostly harmless fragments when the windshield broke. These windshields, however, could shatter from a simple stone chip. In 1919, Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

 solved the problem of flying debris by using the new French technology of glass laminating
Laminated glass
Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered. In the event of breaking, it is held in place by an interlayer, typically of polyvinyl butyral , between its two or more layers of glass. The interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high...

. Windshields made using this process were two layers of glass with a cellulose inner layer. This inner layer held the glass together when it fractured. Between 1919 and 1929, Ford ordered the use of laminated glass on all of his vehicles.

Modern, glued-in windshields contribute to the vehicle's rigidity, but the main force for innovation has historically been the need to prevent injury from sharp glass fragments. Almost all nations now require windshields to stay in one piece even if broken, except if pierced by a strong force. Properly installed automobile windshields are also essential to safety; along with the roof of the car, they provide protection to the vehicle's occupants in the case of a roll-over accident.

Other aspects

In many places, laws restrict the use of heavily tinted glass in vehicle windshields; generally, laws specify the maximum level of tint permitted. Some vehicles have noticeably more tint in the uppermost part of the windshield to block sunglare.

In aircraft windshields, an electric current is applied through a conducting layer of tin(IV) oxide
Tin dioxide
Tin dioxide is the inorganic compound with the formula SnO2. The mineral form of SnO2 is called cassiterite, and this is the main ore of tin. With many other names , this oxide of tin is the most important raw material in tin chemistry...

 to generate heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

 to prevent icing
Frost is the solid deposition of water vapor from saturated air. It is formed when solid surfaces are cooled to below the dew point of the adjacent air as well as below the freezing point of water. Frost crystals' size differ depending on time and water vapour available. Frost is also usually...

. A similar system for automobile windshields, introduced on Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 vehicles as "Quickclear
Quickclear is a European trademark used by the Ford Motor Company for its electrically heated windshield technology. Instaclear was the name used sometimes in the United States....

" in Europe ("InstaClear" in North America) in the 1980s and through the early 1990s, used this conductive metallic coating applied to the inboard side of the outer layer of glass. Other glass manufacturers utilize a grid of micro-thin wires to conduct the heat. These systems are more typically utilized by European auto manufacturers such as Jaguar and Porsche.

Using thermal glass has one downside: it prevents some navigation systems
Automotive navigation system
An automotive navigation system is a satellite navigation system designed for use in automobiles. It typically uses a GPS navigation device to acquire position data to locate the user on a road in the unit's map database. Using the road database, the unit can give directions to other locations...

 from functioning correctly, as the embedded metal blocks the satellite signal. This can be resolved by using an external antenna.


The term windshield is used generally throughout North America. The term windscreen is the usual term in the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

 and Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

 for all vehicles. In the US windscreen refers to the mesh or foam placed over a microphone
A microphone is an acoustic-to-electric transducer or sensor that converts sound into an electrical signal. In 1877, Emile Berliner invented the first microphone used as a telephone voice transmitter...

 to minimize wind noise, while a windshield refers to the front window of a car.
In the UK, the terms are reversed, although generally, the foam screen is referred to as a microphone shield, and not a windshield.

Today’s windshields are a safety device just like seat belts and air bags. The installation of the auto glass is done with an automotive grade urethane designed specifically for automobiles. The adhesive creates a molecular bond between the glass and the vehicle. If the adhesive bond fails at any point on the glass it can reduce the effectiveness of the air bag and substantially compromise the structural integrity of the roof. (Raymond Clough)

Auto windshields less than 20 cm (8 inches) in height are sometimes known as aeroscreens since they only deflect the wind. The twin aeroscreen setup (often called Brooklands
Brooklands was a motor racing circuit and aerodrome built near Weybridge in Surrey, England. It opened in 1907, and was the world's first purpose-built motorsport venue, as well as one of Britain's first airfields...

) was popular among older sports and modern cars in vintage style.

A wiperless windshield is a windshield that uses a mechanism other than wipers to remove snow and rain from the windshield. The concept car Acura TL
Acura TL
The TL "Touring Luxury" debuted as 1996 model, first with the 1996 2.5 TL available with the 2.5 L 176 hp SOHC 20-valve 5-cylinder engine from the Vigor. The 3.2 TL used the 3.2 L 200 hp SOHC 24v V6 from the second generation Acura Legend. The 2.5 TL was positioned as the...

 features a wiperless windshield using a series of jet nozzle
A nozzle is a device designed to control the direction or characteristics of a fluid flow as it exits an enclosed chamber or pipe via an orifice....

s in the cowl
A cowling is the covering of a vehicle's engine, most often found on automobiles and aircraft.A cowling may be used:* for drag reduction* for engine cooling by directing airflow* as an air intake for jet engines* for decorative purposes...

 to blow pressurized air
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

 onto the windshield.

Repair of stone-chip and crack damage

According to the US National Windshield Repair Association many types of stone damage can be successfully repaired. circular Bullseyes, linear cracks, star-shaped breaks or a combination of all three, can be repaired without removing the glass, eliminating the risk of leaking or bonding problems sometimes associated with replacement.

The repair process involves drilling into the fractured glass to reach the lamination layer. Special clear adhesive resin is injected under pressure and then cured with ultraviolet light. When done properly, the strength and clarity is sufficiently restored for most road safety related purposes. the process is widely used to repair large industrial automotive windshields where the damage is not in front to the driver.


Waste disposal of laminated glass
Laminated glass
Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered. In the event of breaking, it is held in place by an interlayer, typically of polyvinyl butyral , between its two or more layers of glass. The interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high...

 is no longer permitted in landfill in most European countries as the End of Life Vehicles Directive
End of Life Vehicles Directive
The End of Life Vehicles Directive is a Directive of the European Union addressing the end of life for automotive products. Every year, motor vehicles which have reached the end of their useful lives create between 8 and 9 million tonnes of waste in the European Union...

 (ELV) is implemented. A study by Surrey University and Pilkington Glass proposes that waste laminated glass is placed into a separating device such as a rolling mill where the glass is fragmented and the larger cullet is mechanically detached from the inner film. The application of heat then melts the laminating plastic, usually Polyvinyl Butyral "PVB" enabling both the glass and the interior film to be recycled. The PVB recycling process is a simple procedure of melting and reshaping it. A Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

consortium of CO2Sense and Ecofillers Ltd estimate that in the UK the potential market for recycled PVB in 2020 may reach a value of around 5000 GDB.

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