There are many instances where the glass panes in a building tends to crack for itself. This could be attributed to various factors like poor quality glazing, but there is also another factor which causes such breakage and is called thermal breakage. Thermal breakage in glass mainly happens due to the high difference in temperature between two points in a single glass pane, resulting in expansion and contraction in the same pane.
The temperature difference as mentioned above could be a result of many factors, such as difference of temperature between inside and outside, solar intensity in the region where building is located, type of glass (whether it is tinted, reflective, etc.), thickness of the glass, internal ventilation, type of glazing done, partial shade on glass, etc. Of all these factors, solar intensity plays a major role and it differs with geographical location, building orientation, seasons, etc.
The difference in temperature between the inside and outside is also a major cause for thermal breakage, normal range for this could be between 10 to 20 degrees. If this increases to a higher level, the possibility of thermal breakage also increases. As mentioned above, different glass types behave differently to heat and thermal breakage. Tinted glasses, otherwise known as heat absorbing glasses absorb more heat when compared to clear glass. Some reflective glasses also absorb high amount of heat, this increases the chances for thermal breakage.
If any heating or cooling devices are placed near the glass, results in non-uniform temperature across the pane, again increasing the possibility of thermal breakage. It is advised to maintain a suitable distance between air blasts (hot or cold) from the glass panes and avoid any direct incidence on to the panes.
Certain architectural structures in a building could result in partial shading of the glass, this again contributes to the non-uniform heating of glass panes.