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NiS inclusions

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 Nickel sulphide inclusions and remediation of glass facades
with
spontaneous fracture
                  
Spontaneous fracture of toughened glass can be a significant problem in curtain wall and other flat glass installations, and it is a problem that is difficult to solve.  It is well known and has been well documented that spontaneous fracture in toughened glass is caused by nickel sulphide (NiS) inclusions formed during manufacture.  This topic was covered in some detail in a 22 Sept 2001 article in New Scientist, and the action of nickel sulphide in toughened glass is explained in a recent article in GlassOnWeb (PDF file, 510kB).
                  
Dr John Barry of PicaMS has carried out two major projects on the remediation of glass facades which suffer spontaneous fracture.
  1. Work done in conjunction with Resolve Engineering (Brisbane) which involved the development of the patented Photoglass method for on-site detection of nickel sulphide inclusions in glass windows ("detection of defects in glass", J.C. Barry, Australian patent - 732132; US patent - 6236734).  The Photoglass method was applied in a major Brisbane building and resulted in removal of more than 200 suspect windows.  An important outcome of the work was that the rate of window breakage dropped from 2 failures per month to 1 failure per year.
  2. Scanning of windows in the main grandstand of a Melbourne Racecourse.  This project  involved manual scanning of windows in a (1400 sq metre) glass curtain wall.  This detailed study of inclusions in the windows helped racecourse operators to improve viewing conditions in the main grandstand.
There are many cases worldwide where the spontaneous fracture of glass in building facades poses a safety risk, and in these cases our technology is especially useful.



The story of the nickel sulphide inclusion told in pictures

Characteristic fracture pattern in toughened glass




The result of spontaneous fracture
- a characteristic fracture pattern.

An optical image of a nickel sulphide inclusion
An SEM image of a nickel sulphide inclusion
Optical image of NiS inclusion
SEM image of NiS inclusion

Backscatter channeling pattern
SEM Image of NiS inclusion
Backscatter channeling pattern of NiS
SEM image of section of NiS inclusion

Surface of nickel sulphide inclusion
SEM image of surface of nickel sulphide inclusion