Glass is non-reactive to most chemicals, including inorganic alkalis and acids such as ammonia and sulphuric acid. Due to this glass has various applications in everyday use such as windows, doors, building skins, furniture, drinkware, automotive windows etc. Cleaning glass is also easy with nonabrasive cleaners including many anti-bacterial cleaners.
Wood on the other side gives a particularly high quality, natural and noble appearance. Although wood has high design requirements, it needs a lot of maintenance and is very sensitive to most cleaning products. Particularly in healthcare institutions, the application of wood is even more limited. As the surface-finish damages by aggressive disinfectants and the mechanical abrasion during intensive use.
According to German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) TRBA 250, all the surfaces in health care and welfare facilities must be impermeable to water, easy to clean and resistant to the disinfections and chemicals used. These specifications mean that only surfaces made of ceramics, metal or plastic are used in furniture and work surfaces in the healthcare sector.
Glass timber panels (GTP) combine the visual effect of noble and high-quality wood while at the same time meeting the hygiene requirements for the health and welfare sector. This paper presents the fabrication techniques and possible applications for such glass-timber-composite panels in the healthcare sector.