Glass used in balustrade systems typically falls into one of two groups, either structural glass or infill glass, and it is important to understand the loads
on these glass panels when selecting a particular
patch fitting to mount the glass.
Glass used in balustrade systems typically falls into one of two groups, either structural glass or infill glass, and it is important to understand the loads on these glass panels when selecting a particular patch fitting to mount the glass.
a) Infill glass applications
Infill glass, as the name suggests, is designed to simply be an infill in a balustrade run. It is assumed that the primary loads of the balustrade are applied to the handrail, and that this handrail is structurally independent of the glass balustrade, and derives support from a stanchion of similar structural item. In this situation, one only needs to consider the loads for infill glass as defined under AS1170.1-2002 (Structural design actions) and these loads are typically much less than that which apply to structural glass. Suitability of a particular patch fitting for infill purposes is then dependant upon the area of the glass supported and the number and relative position of the patch fittings.
In common infill balustrade systems, typically 25mm diameter through to 38mm diameter fittings based on an M10 fitting bolt are adequate in most applications. These include the R38D patch fittings described on page 9 of this document.
b) Structural glass applications
Structural glass in balustrade applications is that which carries the entire balustrade load onto the glass, including the handrail loads. Typical applications of using patch fittings to achieve a structural glass carrying of handrail loads involves the use of an upper and lower series of patch fittings that hold the base of the glass panel to the structural element (e.g. the void edge or the stair stringer) to thereby form a cantilever effect of the glass that then extends up to carry the balustrade handrail and therefore the balustrade loads.
In this typical application, the glass panel becomes a lever that transmits loads by way of compression and tension to the upper and lower series of patch fittings.
The actual load that is imparted onto the fitting is determined by:
- The design load to the balustrade (as defined by AS1170.1)
- The horizontal spacing of the patch fittings that then determines that amount of load is shared by each patch fitting pair
- The height of the handrail above the top series of patch fittings
- The separating distance between the upper and lower series of patch fittings
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Published on: 09-Nov-2010. Topic/s: Technical and architectural product information