AUSTIN (KXAN) - Blue Moon glass shop owner Jim Berry handles glass every day. Before he does though, he has to know about its personality.
"The stress point is in the middle of the glass but the edges are very sensitive to being disturbed," said Berry.
Berry is talking about tempered glass. He says it is what the W Hotel, Austin used on its upper story balconies. Berry takes a look at video and pictures that KXAN shot of falling glass from the W on Tuesday.
"It could be heat-related," said Berry. "Possibly an expansion or contraction type process of it getting too hot and expanding and being confined by the way that it's mounted."
Berry said tempered glass is made to withstand high temperatures. After all, that's how it came to be. Berry said when tempered glass is made it is heated in an oven and then cooled immediately. That process, Berry said, causes stress in the glass.
"The outside of the glass cooled faster than the inside of the glass which set up some stresses in the glass," said Berry. "It made the glass stronger but it also set up some stresses in the glass."
Berry said that's a part of the process so that if the glass breaks, it shatters into small pieces.
"It's doing exactly what it was designed to do. If that glass was breaking and it was not tempered it would be dropping out in very large sharp shards," said Berry.
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