Lab Live: Glass – Applied Science in Action to Solve Material Challenges

Lab Live: Glass – Applied Science in Action to Solve Material Challenges

To understand material performance in the field or determine the causes of underlying building conditions, engineers and material scientists often look to applied science and research methods to improve design and construction processes and probe known issues or problems. By combining technical knowledge with expertise in testing and materials science, these teams can help solve their clients’ most challenging problems by understanding why they occurred in the first place. In Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s (SGH) virtual “Lab Live” series, we will demonstrate these testing and discovery methods in real time in our Applied Science & Research Center to focus on common and challenging material problems. In these dynamic sessions, we hope to spark discussions that lead to creative ideas and improved collaboration.


In the first session of this series, our technical experts and laboratory specialists will focus on glass as a building material, share examples of issues discovered in the field, and give live testing demonstrations to show how SGH’s Applied Science & Research Center helps clients with glass-related  issues. We will showcase several testing approaches and instruments, including scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) to visualize and identify contaminants in glass, including nickel sulfide, that cause spontaneous glass breakage; grazing angle surface polarimeter (GASP) and scattered light polariscope (SCALP) to measure stress in heat-treated glass; and frost point testing of insulating glass units (IGUs) to determine the integrity of the IGU hermetic seals, thermal performance, condensation resistance, and service life of existing IGUs.

After attending this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how glass is generally used as a building material and identify industry testing methods to evaluate glass and its components.
  • Understand how fully tempered glass is tested in a laboratory to verify nickel sulfide-induced spontaneous fracture.
  • Understand the process and equipment used for determining stress levels in heat-treated glass.
  • Understand frost point testing of IGUs and the different methods used for determining IGU hermetic seal integrity.

Participants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW) for attending the live webinar. Registration is free. Please note that space is limited – email events@sgh.com to join our waitlist if the session is closed when you register.

About the Speaker

John  Jackson
John Jackson | Associate Principal

John Jackson specializes in facade and building enclosure design, combining his degrees in both architecture and structural engineering. He applies his creative and technical skills to designing and engineering innovative enclosure systems, having worked on a wide variety of projects both domestically and abroad, with particular expertise in curtain walls, custom glazing systems, structural glass, and glass investigations. John is an active member of the ASTM Subcommittee E06.52 on Glass Use in Buildings and regularly lectures on building enclosure design. In addition, John is part of an industry research project for the Charles Pankow Foundation, led by SGH, studying thermal performance of spandrel assemblies in glazing systems, including analytical modeling and empirical testing, endeavoring to address unknowns within the industry to help inform and develop future standards and codes.

Norman Perkins
Norman Perkins | Director of Applied Science & Research

Norman Perkins provides strategic leadership and oversight for SGH’s Applied Science & Research Center and its physical testing, materials science, and research programs. Throughout his career, he has practiced engineering and conducted research on a wide variety of civil, mechanical, environmental, structural, and fire protection engineering efforts.

Brian Toney
Brian Toney | Project Consultant

Brian Toney specializes in coating failure analysis. He provides analytical and polymer chemistry expertise for a variety of projects, including litigation, rehabilitation, and new design. He has experience solving complex material failures, using SGH’s Applied Science & Research Center to perform in-house testing. With his broad expertise, he performs comprehensive investigations of many materials and systems, allowing SGH to collaborate with clients on a wide range of materials-related projects and tackle the most challenging industry problems.

Cedric White
Cedric White | Consulting Engineer

Cedric White’s experience includes investigating and designing a variety of building enclosure systems, including windows, walls, roofs, plazas, and below-grade waterproofing. He is particularly experienced at assessing and designing repairs on existing buildings enclosures, masonry walls, and roofing systems.