The structural integrity and reliability of glass components are key issues for concentrated solar power (CSP) systems. For example, the glass windows in a solar furnace may suffer catastrophic fracture due to thermal and structural loadings, including reaction chamber pressure cycling. Predicting design strength provides the basis for which the optical components and mounting assembly can be designed so that failure does not occur over the operational lifetime of a given CSP system. The fracture strength of brittle materials is dependent on the size and distribution of cracks or surface flaws. Due to the inherent brittleness of glass resulting in catastrophic failure, conservative design approaches are currently used for the development of optical components made of glass, which generally neglect the specific glass composition as well as subcritical crack growth, surface area under stress, and nature of the load – either static or cyclic – phenomena.
In this paper, several methods to characterize the strength of glass are discussed to aid engineers in predicting a design strength for a given surface finish, glass type, and environment. Based on the Weibull statistical approach and experimental data available on testing silica glass rod specimens, a theoretical model is developed for estimating their fracture strength under typical loading conditions. Then, an integrated assessment procedure for structural glass elements is further developed based on fracture mechanics and the theory of probability, which is based on the probabilistic modelling of the complex behaviour of glass fracture but avoids the complexity for calculation in applications. As an example, the design strength of a glass window suitable for a solar furnace reaction chamber is highlighted.
How to Cite
Authors are allowed to retain both the copyright and the publishing rights of their articles without restrictions.
Open Access Statement
Frattura ed Integrità Strutturale (Fracture and Structural Integrity, F&SI) is an open-access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the DOAI definition of open access.
F&SI operates under the Creative Commons Licence Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0). This allows to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, to remix, transform and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, but giving appropriate credit and providing a link to the license and indicating if changes were made.