Tempered glass is a type of safety glass processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared with normal glass. Tempering puts the outer surfaces into compression and the inner surfaces into tension. Such stresses cause the glass, when broken, to crumble into small granular chunks instead of splintering into jagged shards as plate glass creates. The granular chunks are less likely to cause injury.
As a result of its safety and strength, toughened glass is used in a variety of demanding applications, including passenger vehicle windows, shower doors, architectural glass doors and tables, refrigerator trays, as a component of bulletproof glass, for diving masks, and various types of plates and cookware.
The term tempered glass, in addition to meaning glass that has been heat treated to increase toughness, can refer to glass that has been treated with hydrofluoric acidor other acid. The acid etches away surface scratches and imperfections to increase strength.