A Look at the Changes in the 2009 Version ANSI Z97.1
April 21, 2010

After five years of work by the members of the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) Z97, the update to the American National Standard for Safety Glazing Materials Used in Buildings - Safety Performance Specifications and Methods of Test (ANSI Z97.1) is now complete. The 2009 edition is now available for public sale and distribution. The new version contains several modifications and new material, which add clarity of purpose, intent and procedures.

The standard is specifically written for architectural glazing materials subjected to accidental human impact. According to Kevin Olah and Julie Schimmelpenningh, chair and secretary of ASC Z97, it is recognized that safety glazing configurations, tested and deemed to pass in accordance with this standard, may be used in applications other than those specifically identified in the scope - such as, but not limited to, furniture, shelving and signage. The specifying parties are responsible for ensuring that the test method chosen, product impact classification and interpretation of results are appropriate for their particular application.

The changes in the standard begin with the Forward section. Although not technically part of the standard, it gives guidance on how the standard should be used and how to provide feedback, comments and requests for interpretation to ASC. A section related to the currency of referenced documents within the standard was also added to the Forward.

As the standard opens, the first sections are the Scope, Purpose and Limitations of the document. Olah and Schimmelpenningh explain that "minor, but significant," wording changes are included in these sections. Specifically, the products that have not been, or no longer are, considered safety glazing in accordance with this standard are noted.

The Reference and Definition sections also saw minor adjustments, updates and consistency.

Specimens are then grouped in Table 1 by product type. This table defines the tests that need to be completed for each product type. A center-punch fragmentation test for tempered glass is now included in the document, which Olah and Schimmelpenningh says will help ensure that any glass product not broken by the force of the shot-bag impact still will break in accordance with the safe-break criteria of this standard.

The Methods of Test section has also been revised with new, enlarged images and corresponding text for easy readability. The Adjustments in the Limitations section relegates Class C to a product test method and clarifies the intent of the 2004 version regarding the safety rating of Class C-compliant materials.

One of the biggest changes in the 2009 document is the inclusion of Table 2, "Applicable Interpretation of Results from Shot Bag Impact." This table was inserted to assist in the understanding of the Interpretation of Results section. As this section has been revamped and completely restructured, the committee felt that the addition of Table 2 would provide needed guidance and clarity.

The next section of the standard describes the weathering requirements for glazing products. The only product exempt from weathering is tempered glass. All other glazing types applicable to this standard - laminated glass, organic coated glass and plastics - must demonstrate acceptability after exposure to weathering conditions in order to comply.

Laminated glass and organic coated glass must meet new requirements in the 2009 version. Although visual inspection of the glazing is still a part of the standard, quantitative measurements for visible transmittance, yellowness, haze and Delta E have been added.

For plastic safety glazing products, dimensional stability and testing via Charpy Impact continue to be included in the new version of the standard. With the discontinuation of ASTM D 756 Practice for Determination of Weight and Shape changes of Plastics Under Accelerated Service Conditions, an enhanced section on the exposure of products for indoor use was added.

ANSI Z97.1 is a continuous standard, meaning it is constantly under review. ANSI sets a five-year time limit on the update-and-revision process of a standard to ensure that it is in harmony with industry evolution, market demands and use.

The Steering Committee of ASC Z97 is planning on meeting in June 2010 to discuss the structure and procedures for the next revision of the standard. A full committee meeting to begin the next revision process currently is planned for the Fall 2010.

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