In Between: An interlayer material study for interlocking cast glass blocks

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Abstract

The current research investigates potential interlayer materials candidates, for an interlocking cast glass block assembly. Various alternative interlayers are examined, as well as the effect their unique material properties have on the potential application of the interlocking system. The whole process, from fabrication to construction of the entire assembly, based on a chosen case study, is presented in a chain reaction manner, whose starting point is the interlayer itself. Cast glass presents significant geometrical and strength advantages over float glass, but the extended annealing times are discouraging, which is why using smaller elements, cast glass blocks is often preferred. In this research, the glass blocks are interlocking instead of rectangular, to ensure the structural stability of the system in the two planar directions. For the system to be applicable, a suitable interlayer needs to be placed among the glass components is needed, to prevent early failure due to concentrated stresses. After defining the desired design criteria of the interlayer, a list of candidates is proposed. The considerations for the fabrication of the unique glass block geometry and the various interlayer candidates are examined. For the detailing of the system, a residential building in Amsterdam has been chosen as a case study, which currently employs hollow glass blocks. All five proposed interlayers are considered during the detailing phase, which results in the proposal of two distinct assembly sequences, based on the material properties. The research concludes with an overview of the entire process and the comparison of the interlocking assembly with the existing facade system of the case study and the other cast glass block assemblies.