How to Measure the Penetration Resistance of Impact Windows and Doors

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Efrain Losada

How to Measure the Penetration Resistance of Impact Windows and Doors

Impact windows and doors are architectural security products designed to withstand ballistic, wind, and force impacts, as well as forced entry threats. One of the key features of impact windows and doors is their penetration resistance, which is the ability to prevent a projectile from passing through them.

How is penetration resistance determined? Penetration resistance is determined through laboratory tests that simulate different threat scenarios, such as firearm shots, explosions, or hurricanes. The tests involve firing or launching different types of projectiles at different speeds and distances, and measuring the amount of damage or penetration that occurs in the window or door.

The tests are conducted according to industry standards and specifications, such as ASTM International, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Miami-Dade County.

How are penetration resistance levels classified? Penetration resistance levels are classified according to the type and caliber of the projectile, the speed and distance of the shot, and the number of impacts. For example, UL 752 standard defines 10 levels of bullet-resistant glass, ranging from Level 1 (9mm handgun) to Level 10 (.50 caliber rifle).

The NIJ 0108.01 standard defines 7 levels of bullet-resistant materials, ranging from Level I (22 LR) to Level IV (30-06 armor-piercing). The FEMA P-361 standard defines 3 levels of protection against flying debris, ranging from Level A (2×4 wooden stud) to Level C (15-pound steel pipe).

The Notice of Acceptance (NOA) from Miami-Dade County defines 4 levels of impact resistance, ranging from Level D (small missile) to Level A (large missile).

Why is penetration resistance important? Penetration resistance is important because it can protect your home or business from damage caused by wind, debris, intruders, or armed attacks. By choosing the appropriate level of penetration resistance for your impact windows and doors, you can ensure the safety of your property and family.

Penetration resistance can also offer other benefits, such as improving energy efficiency, reducing noise, increasing property value, and lowering insurance premiums.

How to choose the best impact windows and doors for your needs? Choosing the best impact windows and doors for your needs depends on several factors, such as location, climate, budget, and the design of your property. You should also consider the level of threat you want to protect against, and the level of penetration resistance you need.

To help you make the best decision, you should consult with a professional installer or a reputable manufacturer of impact windows and doors. They can advise you on the best options and products for your specific needs and preferences.

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