Healthcare providers are constantly aspiring to provide the best possible environment for their patients. By continuing to upgrade their facilities, hospitals and other healthcare providers can ensure that patients feel as comfortable as possible.

A cornerstone feature of improving patients’ experiences is to embrace new technologies as they become available. One such technology that has a pivotal role to play in improving healthcare is switchable glass. This innovative modern technology utilizes a switchable liquid crystal film and durable glazing to deliver a number of benefits to medical facilities.

Observation without contamination

Cross-contamination from highly contagious pathogens such as MRSA is a growing problem in hospitals. A key benefit of switchable privacy glass is that hospital staff can easily observe a patient by flicking a switch, without risking cross-contamination of infectious diseases.

Providing a clean environment in healthcare facilities is also paramount in improving patient recovery time and general well-being. Switchable smart glass meets this need by negating the requirement for around the clock bedside care for ill patients, particularly on isolation wards.

Staff can easily monitor a patient without having to enter each isolation unit individually, thereby reducing the risk of contamination to both the staff members and other patients in the facility.

Increasing patient privacy

Switchable electric glass offers the advantage of improved patient privacy in medical facilities. The switchable smart glass panels can easily be changed from clear to opaque, ensuring an increased level of patient privacy in examination rooms, patient rooms, and operating theatres.

Establishing the requisite level of patient privacy and dignity is vital if healthcare providers want to maximize patient satisfaction and comfort in their facilities. Electric switchable glass panels offer an unrivalled level of privacy when compared to curtains and blinds, both of which can easily be disturbed.

A hygienic alternative to curtains

Switchable glass is simple to clean and maintain, making it a hygienic alternative to traditional hospital curtains and blinds. Harmful germs can easily gather on the surface of curtains and they are difficult to sterilize.

By incorporating switchable privacy glass into their facilities, healthcare providers can create a much cleaner environment for staff and patients. The fixed, sheer surface of glass compared to curtains means they can easily be wiped down, eliminating the presence of dangerous pathogens that can be a threat to patient health.

Aesthetic design without compromising safety

switchable smart glass on

Healthcare providers can install switchable smart glass in their facilities without compromising on issues such as fire safety and security. Switchable glass panels can be installed alongside existing security glass or fire resistant glass panels to ensure maximum security and patient safety.

Integrating switchable glass technology in medical facilities means achieving an impressive design aesthetic while adhering to the watertight safety regulations required of a top-class healthcare provider.

The following two real-world case studies highlight the benefits that switchable glass brings to healthcare providers.

1. St. Mary’s Paddington Hospital

Electric Smartglass

St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London has long been regarded as a pioneer of innovative technology in the healthcare industry. Recently, it was decided by Keith Murray, the Facilities Director at St. Mary’s hospital, to implement an interior solution that helped to eliminate the risk of hospital-acquired infections while improving patient privacy.

Keith’s decision was to have a series of glazed switchable glass partition screens installed at the hospital to section off clinical treatment rooms from public areas. The installation of these switchable smart glass panels has been a resounding success for St. Mary’s Hospital, helping to reduce the spread of highly contagious superbugs. The ease at which the sheer surfaces can be cleaned ensures impressive sterilization speed, thereby minimizing the risk of contagion.

2. West Wales General Hospital

Smartglass

West Wales General Hospital is a 391-bed major acute secondary care hospital located in Carmarthen. The construction of a new three-storey theatre and endoscopy unit was recently completed at the hospital.

Part of the design brief for the new endoscopy unit was to deliver maximum patient satisfaction through the use of innovative technology that provides a clean and comfortable environment for patients.

Studies from Ohio were cited by the hospital that identified curtains as an important source of harmful drug-resistant bacteria in healthcare facilities. In fact, in the cited studies, 43 percent of privacy curtains were contaminated with VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) and 22 percent of them harboured MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

In line with the design brief, the new endoscopic unit was built with switchable glass panels replacing traditional curtains where possible. The result at West Wales General Hospital has been a much cleaner and safer hospital environment with minimal risk of potentially deadly infections.

Smartglass International is a leading provider of electric switchable glass solutions. To find out more about how our anti-bacterial smart glass solutions can help improve the design of healthcare facilities, contact our expert team.

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In home settings, many people want glass windows for the view, but worry about having to install additional curtains or blinds for their privacy. In office settings, many want glass partitions for their meeting rooms, but worry about privacy not being achieved.

The best of both worlds would then be a material that does both: offers privacy when you need it, but on the flip side also offers up views and sunlight when you need it. The good news is that glass can now be applied in these two contexts flexibly, due to the increasingly advanced technology in the glass industry today.

In this newsletter, we shed some light on glass and privacy (these two concepts are not mutually exclusive) that will throw away your notions of glass only being able to be of one variant.

Yes, glass can be clear, it can be opaque, but it can also be both, thus providing the solution of flexible privacy. The customisable levels of privacy are as follows:

Three Ways to Protect Your Privacy at Home/Work with Glass

 

For two-way privacy in 1 second

 

Three Ways to Protect Your Privacy at Home/Work with Glass

Ever seen spy movies where an opaque glass is turned into clear glass with the flick of a switch to reveal a plot twist? This is actually a technology that exists in real life and not merely a figment of imagination from the scriptwriters. This glass (PrivaGlas) goes by many names.

Some know it as switchable glass, smart glass, or even magic glass. It offers flexible privacy in just 1 second, as the user just has to toggle an ‘on’ or ‘off’ switch in order to immediately transform the glass from clear to opaque, or vice versa. Occupants on both sides of the glass will not be able to see each other when it is opaque.

In home settings, this glass can be used to separate the study area from the bedroom, or to separate the bathroom from the bedroom.

In office settings, this glass can be used to separate meeting rooms from office cubicles, or any rooms where access is sensitive.

 

For two-way privacy in 1 minute

 

Three Ways to Protect Your Privacy at Home/Work with Glass

Current research and development coupled with modern technology allows enclosing of blinds in an insulated glass unit (VariShade). Instead of additional blinds that are installed in front of a glass window or glass wall, these blinds are installed within the glass panes and are able to offer flexible privacy.

For privacy, simply press the ‘down’ button to roll the blinds out. It should take about a minute for the blinds to roll out from the top to the bottom, but that of course also depends on the height of your glass. For an unobstructed clear view, simply press the ’up’ button and the blinds will go up to reveal the glass wall/window and the view behind it.

All blinds are fully customisable at no additional cost. Just like manual blinds, they can be controlled and tilted completely to offer maximum privacy from the external environment. Unlike manual blinds though, no maintenance of the blinds is necessary as it is encapsulated in between two panes of glass, ensuring that no dust is able to get in.

A bonus with VariShade is that it also offers sound privacy. The layer of non-convective air in between glass panes is able to cut down sound transmission, shielding you from unwanted external noise in homes and preventing leakage of information from meeting rooms.

By buffering against the outside world, VariShade gives a desirable upgrade to any indoor, private experience.

Three Ways to Protect Your Privacy at Home/Work with Glass

 

For one-way privacy on the darker side

Ever seen criminal investigation shows where police officers watched from behind a glass while the suspect is being interrogated in the room? In the police officer’s perspective, the glass is see-through and they can see everything happening in the room clearly.

However, switch over to the suspect’s perspective and he just sees his reflection in the same glass, with no clue that the police officers are observing him from the other side.

This one-way mirror is made by coating with a sparse silver coating that plays with the presence and absence of light to give users the privacy they want. The pre-condition for this glass is that the room to be kept private must remain dark, while the other side must remain bright.

The light in the brightly-lit room causes the glass to appear reflective, while reflecting light back from the mirror’s surface. In contrast, since the other side is dark, light from the brightly-lit room passes through the glass and into the other side.

The intensity of the light in the brightly-lit room results in a “spy” mirror where only the dark side gets to observe what is going on in the brightly-lit room. SSG also supplies this glass for privacy purposes.

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The term ‘Wind Load’ is used to refer to any pressures or forces that the wind exerts on a building or structure. There are actually three types of wind forces that would be exerted on a building.

Uplift Wind Load

Uplift Wind Load is an upwards force of the wind that would affect roof structures or similar horizontal structures in a building, such as canopies or awnings. The wind flow under a roof structure pushes the roof upwards, the wind flow over the horizontal structure pulls the roof upwards.

Shear Wind Load

Shear Wind Load is a horizontal pressure or force that can cause walls or vertical structural elements to tilt or crack, causing a building to tilt.

Lateral Wind Load

Lateral Wind Load is another horizontal wind pressure that can make a structure move off its foundations or overturn.

All structural glass assemblies are designed bespoke to suit each project’s requirements, this includes the wind load requirements. Different areas or locations throughout the UK will have different design wind load requirements depending on the basic wind speed of the area and the size and shape of the building as well.

Building Regulations state that all structures have to be designed to withstand a wind load of 0.5 kN/m2 (500 Pa), however, IQ Glass design all of our glass structures and installations to withstand a 0.65kN/m2 (650 Pa) wind load to ensure additional support.

Coastal properties or sites that are set out of a sheltered town environment may be subject to higher wind loads and therefore will have to be designed to withstand these additional forces.

What is Wind Load and Why is it Important in Architectural Glazing?

An architect or engineer should be able to work out the design wind load that we will need in our calculations for glass specifications and fixing details. This wind load is generally calculated using BS EN 1991-1-4:2005+A1:2010 regarding wind actions on buildings.

Framed elements, such as our aluminium and steel framed windows and doors, can be pre-tested to determine what their wind load strength is. These tests are completed using EN standard testing method 12210, Windows and Doors – Resistance to Wind Load.

The resulting classifications are broken down into two parts; a number signifying the maximum wind pressures exerted on the window or door and a letter signifying the resulting frontal deflection during the testing procedure.

What is Wind Load and Why is it Important in Architectural Glazing?

For example, our slim framed sliding glass doors (minimal windows) have been tested under EN 12210 and received a C4/B5 classification . This means that the large sliding doors were tested to wind pressures of 2400 Pa with frontal deflection of less than 1/300 and then tested to pressures of 3000 Pa with a frontal deflection of less than 1/200.

For an even higher wind load classification our triple glazed sliding glass doors have been tested to a hurricane wind load with cyclic air pressures of up to 3510 Pa and wind speeds of over 270 km/hr for use in extremely high wind load areas.

Ensuring that architectural glazing installations are designed and installed with the required wind loading’s is extremely important to ensure that windows and doors operate properly throughout their lifetime.

You also need to ensure that those structural glass assemblies are designed with the correct glass thicknesses and relevant strengthening interlayers. Speak to the technical team at IQ Glass for more information to make sure that we are designing your structure to the required strength and resistance.

What is Wind Load and Why is it Important in Architectural Glazing?

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Three months ago, German-based Bürkert Fluid Control Systems moved into its brand new U.S. headquarters in Huntersville, North Carolina.  Situated on a parcel of land nearly 100 acres in size, this modern facility was constructed with growth in mind.  Not only does the building have immediate square footage readied for production expansion, it also has “knock-out” walls to allow for actual building expansion.  SC Railing Company is pleased to have collaborated with locals, McCombs Steel Company, Inc. and Edifice, Inc., to provide more than 1,300 linear feet of glass and stainless steel railings for this project.  Our Track Rail, Monaco, and Casino railing systems were utilized throughout the office and production facility on the Bürkert campus.

burkert_fluid_control_office_lobby_overlook_trackrail-1024x790Our Track Rail structural glass railing system was installed with ½” glass, stainless steel cladding, and a stainless steel top cap.  One-line stainless handrail was added at stair locations.  Level and stair applications of our Casino stainless steel cable railing were installed in the production facility.  Monaco, our post-mounted glass and stainless steel railing, was applied to the lower level of the stairs within the office.  In keeping with the Track Rail system,  ½”  glass and stainless steel top cap were employed therein.  As with most interior applications, our standard grade 304 stainless steel was used throughout the project.

burkert_fluid_control_office_monaco_stairs-1024x790As the banners at Bürkert read, “Innovation has a new home!”  Huntersville is a Charlotte-area suburb, which finds itself a veritable hub for innovative modern production facilities in recent years.  Bürkert Fluid Control Systems is one of three such businesses to call this area in Huntersville home, altogether employing 400 people.  Bürkert expects growth in the next few years to bring about 50 additional jobs.  We anticipate being a part of future building expansion on the Bürkert campus, and are excited to watch this community grow with the needs of innovative tech development and manufacturing.

Upon completion, this 120,000 square-foot facility earned the Excellence in Construction Eagle Award from Associated Builders and Contractors of the Carolinas, presented to General Contractor, Edifice, Inc.  There are many reasons to be proud of this project, and we are honored to have been the preferred railings provider.

See additional images of the Bürkert Fluid Control Systems facility

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We all know the basic function of a window and why we think it’s important to the design and functionality of our home – to let in the light and allow us to see our surroundings.

But have you ever considered glass that does more than those basic functions? Well that’s where double-glazed glass comes in.

So, first things first. What is double-glazed glass?

Put simply, double-glazed glass (also known as Insulated Glass Units) comprise of two or more panes of glass, separated by an air (or gas) filled cavity that is completely sealed -forming a transparent insulating barrier between the interior of your space and the outdoors.

Once the glass is double glazed it provides a myriad of benefits, that a standard single glazed window just can’t compete with.

Why double glazing is so important when it comes to glass selection

Why double glazing is so important when it comes to glass selection

So what exactly are these benefits?

1/ Illuminate Your Space

Allows for larger window spaces, opening your home up to more natural light and vaster views.

2/ Year-round Comfort

Double glazing provides superior insulation by limiting the transfer of hot or cold air through windows – making your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. This allows you to have expansive glazing whilst still achieving an energy efficient home.

3/ Reduce Outside Noise

The double glazing provides enhanced acoustics, creating a seamless transmission of light through your windows while restricting the amount of external noise reaching inside. No noisy neighbor problems here!

4/ UV protection

The sun can glare down on double glazed glass and your items inside including your lounge will not fade, the glass offers UV protection against the suns harsh rays! Amazing.

5/ Enhanced Security

Because there are not one but two layers, double glazed glass is built tough. Due to its thick nature when subjected to force the glass won’t crack or shatter easily like normal glass.

Who knew all this could be achieved by the humble window?

Our leading double glazing product for residential spaces is Lightbridge – a high performance double glazed unit perfect for keeping you and your family comfortable all year round.

Why double glazing is so important when it comes to glass selection

Want to know more about Lightbridge? Click here: http://www.viridianglass.com/products/energy-efficiency/lightbridge

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When you install rooflights, you’re adding a host of benefits to your home. Rooflights can be installed in tight spaces where traditional windows cannot, they flood rooms with natural light and can be tailored to fitted in any home, in a wide variety of styles too.

But did you know the difference they can also make to your outgoings every month? When installed correctly, rooflights can have a positive environmental impact on your home and reduce your energy bills.

The natural light effect

Rooflights are the most effective way to fill your home with natural light, in fact, they provide up to three times more natural light than standard windows. So how do rooflights and the light they expose your home to, help you save money on energy bills?

Reduce artificial lighting

Maximising natural light means less need for artificial lighting which can dramatically reduce the cost of your energy bills. Of course, the amount of daylight will be dependent on building type and positioning of the rooflight. To get the maximum exposure for your home, speak to an expert about where you should position your rooflights.

Cut your Co2 emissions

Research has shown that rooflights, when installed correctly, will help to dramatically reduce the amount of Co2 emissions your home produces. The need for artificial light is unavoidable and consumes a lot of energy. However, increasing natural light reduces the reliance on artificial lighting, which dramatically cuts energy use, therefore reducing the CO2 emissions resulting from artificial light.

Lower heating costs

Passive heat or solar heat gain will reduce the need for central heating or other artificial heating appliances. In fact, recent third party product testing revealed just how good the U-value calculation (a measure of the rate of heat loss of a building component) is for our latest triple glazed rooflightproduct. Demonstrating just how effective our triple glazing and composite product design are at keeping in heat over standard double glazed rooflights supplied by others.

Air circulation

Ventilating skylights open outwardly at the bottom and help release the hot air that naturally accumulates near the ceiling. Allowing fresh air in your home is far healthier than using energy abusing purifiers and air conditioning units too.

Advanced energy saving

You can now install triple glazed rooflights which help keep the heat in but still allow optimum natural light – especially useful during the winter months.

A more eco-friendly home

Research has proven that installing rooflights, covering usually 15-20% of the total roof area, will usually reduce your overall energy consumption compared to buildings without rooflights installed. Find out how our rooflights helped this Bolton eco-home work towards its energy efficiency goals last year.

A positive effect on you

Allowing more natural light to flow into your home will also have a more positive effect on everyone that lives there. Numerous studies have shown that some of the benefits include increased focus, reduced stressed levels, improved moods and better sleep patterns.

Attractive and practical

Installing rooflights is a great way to improve the appearance of your home, add value and importantly, reduce your energy consumption too.

To ensure you’re making the most of your rooflight’s energy-saving potential, make sure you have them installed correctly. Why not contact us today and speak to one of our installation experts?

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With the number of high-rise buildings increasing, the demand for safe facade access is at an all-time high. But, what are the options? And which one do you choose for your specific building? To provide you with some guidance in the search for the right facade access solution, we will briefly explain and compare some available options in facade access solutions. Each with its own characteristics.

Bosun’s chair

A Bosun’s chair (or boatswain’s chair) is a short plank that is used to suspend a single person from the roof or another higher level, and abseil alongside the facade using a rope. They are a relatively quick way to gain access to a facade and require little investment.

However, Bosun’s chair users need to be well-trained to operate the facade access solution. Due to the manual proceedings needed to operate the system, the risks are high. This is why workers qualified to use Bosun’s chairs are relatively more expensive than workers using a suspended platform system or BMU.

Because a Bosun’s chair is used by a single person, the work area is no bigger than the user’s reach. This is fine when a facade is narrow and the maintenance interval is low, but when a facade is wide and requires maintenance regularly, multiple workers need to be hired. Because hiring qualified Bosun’s chair users is relatively more expensive, this can become a costly operation.

Another challenge can be found in the complex shapes facades come in. A Bosun’s chair is most suitable for straight facades. A worker can move up and down the facade, but horizontal travel during a descent is next to impossible. Unless the chair is disconnected and the anchor point is moved along the roof edge.

Due to the introduction of new standards for the general industry by OSHA this year, there is also a height restriction, limiting its use to 300 feet. Furthermore, restraint of the system is required when vertical travel exceeds 130 feet.

Suspended platform systems

A system where a suspended platform (also known as swing stage or suspended scaffold) hangs alongside the facade of a building. It hangs suspended on Davit arms, outrigger beams, parapet clamps or another form of anchorage. Two hoists installed on the platform can be operated by the user in order to travel vertically alongside the facade.

Suspended platform systems may only be operated by qualified persons. Using the system is relatively easier than the above mentioned solution and therefore brings less risks.

These suspended scaffolds can be used for low-, mid- and high-rise buildings. However, the hoists need to be on roof level when vertical travel exceeds 490 feet. In practice, one would choose a Building Maintenance Unit once vertical travel exceeds 300 feet, but we will cover that later on.

Platforms can vary from 3 to 52 feet long and two persons can perform work simultaneously. This means a large area can be covered in one vertical travel and work can get done relatively fast. However, to move the system horizontally, the platform has to be detached from the anchor. After both components have been repositioned, the system needs to be certified by a competent person again. Completely accessing a large facade can be become a time consuming process this way. Also, this facade access solution is not very suitable for inward or outward sloping facades.

Building Maintenance Unit (BMU)

A Building Maintenance Unit is a permanent system that comes in various forms and applications. Common solutions in this category are overhead trollies (monorails), traversing roof cars, telescopic booms or a combination of the latter two. Suspended from the aforementioned, is a gondola which is fitted with a control box to operate the system. A BMU is an ideal solution to maintain tall and wide facades, because the gondola can move vertically as well as horizontally while hanging suspended.

Because it’s a permanent solution, the system only needs to be serviced and certified once a year. Although users still need to be trained properly, there is no installation knowledge required which lowers the risk of incidents happening.

This facade access system can be customized to meet specific demands of more complex buildings that have inward or outward sloping facades, twisting facades or facades with protruding elements for example. These customizations can include rotating booms, extending gondolas and the use of soft rope systems, among other things. Besides that, the machine can be made to blend into the design of the structure by hiding it from sight when in parked position. This way, the aesthetical value of the building is not affected.

Placing a BMU on an existing building is a big investment. But costs for workers are lower, so on the long run savings will be made maintaining a large facade area in comparison with using (multiple) Bosun’s chairs or suspended platform systems.

Recap and factsheet download

We want to make clear once more that facade access solutions need to fit the demands of a specific project. In some situations a temporary solution can be preferred, other projects may need multiple types of BMUs to meet the demands.

This is why you cannot simply conclude one system is better than the other, based on characteristics only. It’s all about matching a project’s demands with the characteristics of a facade access solution. For this reason, we always advise building owners to think about facade maintenance at an early stage of a project. To help you along, we have composed a factsheet which will help you find the right solution for your building.

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Introduction:

A home is what you come back to after a long day. A place tucked away from the chaos of the world. But this humble abode of yours is always at risk of damage from the various forces of Mother Nature. The most uncontrollable of these forces is undoubtedly fire. While the damage caused by fire is irreparable, how far it spreads is definitely something that can now be controlled. And the perfect tool for this job is the new fire-resistant range of glass from AIS.

We at AIS, have been trusted and relied on by builders, architects and designers for our glass solutions over the last several years. Our solutions are manufactured at high international standards and are perfected to serve customers with greater efficiency.

AIS fire-resistant glass range:

We have released a brand new range of fire-resistant glass that can be used in residential as well as commercial spaces. This range has been designed to withstand extreme heat and prevent the spread of fire to unaffected spaces of a structure.

fire rated glass - AIS glass

Mentioned below are the products that are a part of the range:

AIS Pyrobel:

AIS Pyrobel is a laminated glass range which comes with an intumescent layer. This glass is specially engineered to withstand extreme levels of heat and restrict its transfer.

This glass solution can be used in place of a brick wall while providing transparency as well as fire-resistance. In the event of a fire, the interlayers will expand and transform into a rigid, opaque and heat absorbing fire shield. AIS Pyrobel is available in three different types.

AIS Pyrobelite:

AIS Pyrobelite is another fire-resistant solution you can consider for your home or office. It is a laminated glass assembled with one clear intumescent interlayer. In times of a fire, the interlayer of this glass expands at around 120o C and transforms into a rigid fire shield. This helps to keep the heat radiation to a very low and safe level. This type of glass is available in twelve different types.

What makes the AIS fire-resistant glass range special and how can it help?

AIS fire-resistant glass range has the ability to act as an opaque and heat-absorbing fire guard. With this glass range, you can reduce the spread of fire and minimize the impact of heat. This ensures complete safety and well-being for your home or office.

Take a look at the three classifications at which the AIS fire-resistant glass range is manufactured.

E Class – Integrity

Normally used for internal applications, this type of special glass helps prevent the spread of flames to the unaffected side.

EW Class – Integrity and Low radiation

This type of glass is tempered and laminated. It can be used for various internal and external applications. It not only prevents the flame from entering the unaffected side but also helps control the radiation.

EI Class- Integrity and Insulation

This type of glass provides integrity and insulation. With this glass, the maximum temperature on the unaffected side will not exceed an average of 140o Celsius.

Applications of the AIS fire-resistant glass range:

  • Homes
  • Data Server Rooms
  • Refuge floors / Areas
  • Smoke Screens
  • Roofs / Overhead Applications
  • Facades Partitions
  • Doors & Windows

fire rated glass windows - AIS glass

But that’s not all our fireproof glass does, it offers amazing aesthetics and functionality. To know more about these solutions, do get in touch with our glass experts. We will provide you with all the details you need to make an informed decision. So don’t let your dreams go up in smoke. Install the AIS fire-resistant glass range and stay protected from fire.

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The two primary methods of depositing coatings on glass are Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

Magnetron sputtering is the most common PVD process. Sputtered coatings are generally referred to as “soft-coat” because they are “painted on” by ionized metals directed at the glass.

CVD coatings are referred to as “hard-coat” because they are burned onto the glass and become part of the structure. These coatings can be harder than the glass itself and boost chemical resistance.

Both types of coating offer advantages and disadvantages. When evaluating the best option for a glass manufacturing facility, coating performance and ease of fabrication are important factors.

 

Magnetron Sputtered Technology

Sputtered coatings are applied independently of the float glass manufacturing process (“off-line”). Thin films are formed by accelerating high energy ions from targets toward the glass surface at low temperatures.

The ions bombard the glass surface forming uniform thin layers. The bond is weak, causing a “soft coating” that is more easily scratched or damaged and chemically fragile.

Commercial sputtered coatings are applied in a vacuum chamber and typically consist of 6-12 layers of thin metallic and oxide coatings. Silver is the active layer for “Low E” (low emissivity) sputtered coatings.

Remaining layers include barriers, color modification oxide layers, and sacrificial metal layers. Sputter manufactures use these additional layers to offer more products than pyrolytic producers offer.

Offline sputtered soft-coating offers a few benefits:

  • Sputtering can be done by companies not involved in glass production.
  • Sputtering is a well-established process with a broad range of target materials.
  • Short delivery times are possible with less inventory per product.
  • Sputtered coatings can offer better properties for some applications.

Many companies embrace sputter coating for the advantages listed above. Glass distributors only coating choice is to install sputter systems, which accounts for their popularity. However, glass manufacturers have other options and should consider the disadvantages of sputter coating listed below:

  • Capital costs are higher for sputtering equipment relative to production capacity.
  • Manufacturing costs are high due to materials, energy, maintenance, and depreciation (often 2 to 3 times the price of CVD coatings), resulting in low margins.
  • Production yields decline as more layers are deposited.
  • Sputtered coatings are soft and are damaged more easily during normal handling and fabrication.
  • Sputtered coatings are sensitive to moisture requiring sealed bags with desiccant.
  • Shelf life is limited in sealed packaging, but is further reduced after packaging is opened.
  •  Sputtered coatings have weak adhesion which can cause sealant failures in insulated glass units.  Edge deletion of sputtered coatings is recommended which adds manufacturing costs.  Sputtered coatings that “don’t require edge deletion” can experience rapid seal failure due to certain detergents and brick washes.
  • Sputtered coatings cannot typically be used with single pane applications.
  • Tempering soft coat requires unusual skill, and  usually results in increased tempering losses.

 

Pyrolytic CVD Technology

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) can produce a variety of aesthetic and functional coatings. Chemical vapors are brought to the hot glass surface with specialized coaters during glass manufacturing.

The vapors react with the hot glass (600°C to 700°C) and form a covalent bond. This results in a hard and robust coating that enhances the strength and stain resistance of the glass.

Fragile sputtered soft-coatings can be accidently wiped off during normal handling. Manufacturers and fabricators handle CVD coatings with the same procedures and equipment as standard float glass resulting in higher yields, higher profit, excellent lead times, and improved customer service.

Typical Single Flow CVD Coater

Pyrolytic CVD coatings offer several benefits:

  • Lower capital investment.
  • Higher yields.
  • Lower manufacturing cost.  CVD coatings cost ~$1/m2 vs. Sputter coatings ~$4/m2.
  • CVD is an on-line process, resulting in unmatched throughput.
  • CVD coatings are bonded to the glass with covalent bonds, resulting in increased shelf life, scratch resistance, and stain resistance.
  • CVD coatings can be used in specialty applications like monolithic, touch screen, and anti-microbial.  Conductive coating applications, like solar panels and appliance glass, are much more practical with CVD coatings.
  • Special handling equipment and procedures are not needed; glass is handled and shipped with the same equipment as base glass.
  • CVD coatings are not susceptible to delamination caused by moisture in the air, resulting in an unlimited shelf life.
  • CVD glass is tempered similarly to standard float glass products, resulting in improved throughput and cost effectiveness.
  • There is no visual differentiation between annealed or tempered CVD products.  Projects requiring a mix of tempered and annealed glass benefit from a more pleasing uniform color.

While possessing several benefits from a production standpoint, CVD is not as widely used as sputtering for the following reasons:

  • Until recently, CVD technology, for on-line use, was not readily available on attractive commercial terms. Stewart Engineers is now your source for “state of the art” CVD coating systems.
  • CVD systems must be installed on-line at a float glass manufacturing facility, either at a new build or a retro-fit.
  • Some manufacturers mistakenly believe CVD cannot be installed due to space constraints. Most float baths will accommodate an on-line CVD system.
  • Some manufacturers mistakenly believe CVD can only be installed during a cold repair.

 

Which is best?

For a glass manufacturer, which type of coated glass is best depends on a number of factors, including where customers are located, the size and type of operation, inventory turns, desired durability, etc.

However, for most glass manufacturers, pyrolytic CVD technology is superior due to lower capital cost, lower operating cost, and higher throughput.

For downstream customers, both sputter coated and pyrolytic glass are viewed as high-performance glass products.

Architects and building owners are generally open to using both products and are primarily concerned with aesthetics which slightly favors CVD.

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With the cold clear nights, low sun and damp bright mornings autumn is truly upon us, but along with the spectacular beauty of the turning trees comes a potential problem for stallers – mysterious patterns of condensation and even ice appearing on hitherto unblemished sealed units. Disappearing within a few hours of sunrise for most

householders these transient effects don’t present a problem, quite the opposite in fact, this provide a healthy sign that the glass is doing its job.
However we understand there will always remain a few customers who, previously
completely satisfied with their installations often can become alarmed or concerned that
they have faulty product installed. Usually this is simply a lack of understanding of the
product and processes involved – I believe providing that understanding most problems can
be alleviated before they arise.
Here follows therefore an explanation of these temporary and harmless visual
phenomenon, hopefully to the benefit of the customer as well as your sales staff and
customer service teams.

Why does condensation from on the outside of my windows?

Under particular weather and temperature conditions dew or frost forms on any unheated
surface whether that be the ground, roofs, car windows etc. Regarding domestic glazing, in
the past this effect may have been less pronounced or not at all, because inefficient sealed
units or single glass have let heat escape from the inside of the house to the outside, thus
warming the outer leaf slightly. Even relatively modern double glazing can ‘leak’ heat to
warm the outer leaf sufficiently, and when this is the case condensation will not form.
As glass technology moves on however, performance levels are such that an EnergiMAXTM
or similar unit is around 5 times more efficient than single glazing and over 50% better than
conventional low E glasses such as Pilkington K. With triple glazing we can technically make
a unit that is TEN times more insulating than single glass, such that heat loss through the
unit is virtually zero.
With the rising popularity of these unit configurations, especially in A–rated installations,
the heat loss is absolute minimal. It therefore follows that the outer leaf remains cold, and
the therefore it is likely that for some of the colder months of the year condensation, and
even ice may form on the outside of your windows.
It’s important to note that this is a completely natural and understandable phenomenon, it
does not harm the installation and will disappear as the day warms up. It’s simply the laws
of physics at work – condensation and dew are attracted to cold, smooth surfaces.

Why do I see a ‘border’ effect?

Sealed units are at their most efficient at the centre, where the cavity, coatings and inert gas
filling best do their job. Towards the very edges, the spacer bar and the window frame itself
can themselves conduct a little more heat than at the centre. We offset this by the use of
warm edge spacer bars and thermal frame inserts, but this slight extra transmission of heat
as well as that radiated from the frame is sufficient to create a warmer edge and thus a
condensation free border at edge of the glass.

Why are not all windows affected, they were all installed the same time?

Local ‘microclimate effects’ can be responsible for differing effects on even adjacent units.
Trees, shrubs, overhangs can all block off part of the night sky, and insulate the glass
slightly. Some windows maybe shaded for fractionally longer when the sun rises, or some
may be closer to internal heat sources or ventilation. Many of these factors would simply
not be noticeable to the untrained eye, but certainly you will see differing effects on the
different elevations of your building.

I can see small marks, clear patches or even circles in the condensation?

These aren’t faults, neither are they permanent, they are just surface effects are from the
various bits of equipment that have come into contact with the glass both here and at the
glass manufacturing plant itself. Microscopic layers of film residue from cork pads, suction
cups etc, and even hand or finger prints will show up when condensation forms on the glass.
They are external effects which will disappear over time and has no effect on the
performance of the unit.

01

fig 1 – External condensation, border effect and pad residue on A Rated Energy MAXTM DGU installation

I’ve got internal condensation, why is this?

The use of highly efficient sealed units has vastly reduced the incidence of internal
condensation, largely due to the same physics which causes external condensation. As we
have seen Energy MAXTM, units prevent the heat from escaping, or put another way stop the
cold from ‘getting in’. For this reason the internal face of the glass is much warmer than it
otherwise would be, and condensation is less likely to form. The exceptions to this may be
the perimeter effect, whereby more cold ‘gets in’ around the edges of the glass, thus
allowing condensation to form at the edges or corners in extreme cases.
Again, the use of warm edge spacer bars largely eliminates this; however as with any
internal condensation good ventilation is the key. Regardless of how good the window
system is therefore, excessive volumes of moisture in the air from drying clothes,
bathrooms, cooking etc may ultimately end up forming as condensation on your glass.

In Summary

Condensation, and in very cold scenarios, ice can form on the external pane of some
modern glass units. Likened to snow settling on a well-insulated roof, this is a sign that your
new windows are doing the job you bought them for, to retain heat in the home and to save
money on heating bills.
The extent to which external condensation is seen depends on the many factors including
the weather, temperature, geography – both micro and macro, and the type of glass fitted.
Broadly speaking the warmer the temperature and the worse performing glass you have,
the less condensation you will see.
Technology moves on, as ever. With our glass partners we are developing an anti condensation
coating, which may be available as early as 2013. Primarily this will be used in
very high end triple glazed applications, so watch this space.
In the meantime, living in the UK however, we have both an interested and varied climate,
coupled with a binding legal requirement to fit ever increasingly efficient window
installations, and a customer driven demand to save energy and to ‘go green’
For these reasons it is clear that external condensation and ice are here to stay, for the
meantime at least. We are far better to embrace these transient visual effects as a sign of
lower fuel bills and better green credentials, than to fight against them.

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With a look that’s sleek, stylish and contemporary, what’s not to love about glass floors?

Few design features are as striking or as impressive as a glass floor – and the extra light that floods through a glass floor can transform a room into an open and airy space.

But just how strong are glass floors? And are they entirely safe for use in a commercial environment?

Regulations for glass floors

All types of flooring must meet strict Building Regulations when it comes to their load-bearing capacity, and glass floors are certainly no exception.

British Standards BS6399: Part 1, 1996 and BS5395: Part 1, 2000 both come into play when installing flooring, governing the standards for dead and imposed loadings and the dangers of slippage.

How strong a glass floor needs to be depends largely on where it is to be installed and the loads it will bear. Glass floors installed purely as walkways will be under less stress than those in, say, a supermarket, where heavy restocking cages loaded with bottles etc are wheeled around. The point load on one of those little wheels is going to be considerably higher than the same load spread out over a larger area, so this must be accounted for. The same goes for the high point loads on the legs of heavy furniture.

What makes glass floors strong?

A number of factors contribute to the strength of a glass floor, but primarily, it comes down to the type of glass used and the amount of support for the glass.

Glass floors are almost always made of laminated glass in one form or another. Often this will be either heat strengthened laminated glass or toughened laminated glass. Heat strengthened glass is roughly twice as strong as annealed glass, while toughened glass can be five times as strong. However, the tensile stresses within toughened glass mean that it can be vulnerable to short sharp shocks, particularly around the edges. And when toughened glass breaks, it shatters in its entirety.

Laminated glass is made by bonding two or more layers of glass around an inner laminate layer, so even if one pane breaks, the glass will remain in place. So even though a layer of toughened glass shattering would not seriously compromise the safety of a glass floor in the short term, it would certainly be costly to replace.

For this reason, heat strengthened laminated glass is often the preferred option for glass floors.

The thickness of the glass needed for a glass floor will depend on the amount of support provided by the structure and the widths the glass has to span. Required thicknesses increase sharply as the span of glass increases, so for larger areas, glass floors will usually be supplied as multiple panels rather than a single unit. This keeps the weight (and cost) of the glass floor down.

Glass floors generally tend to work out around twice as strong as their wooden counterparts, owing to both the inherent strength of the glass itself, plus the additional support structure that secures it in place.

This video by the BBC gives a good indication of just how strong a glass floor can actually be – the reporter is filmed on a glass-bottomed bridge in China, testing the strength of one of its glass panels with a sledgehammer. He quickly smashes the top layer of toughened glass, but the super-strength laminated glass panel stays intact no matter how much he hammers it.

If you are considering a glass floor, get in touch with commercial glass suppliers Peterlee Glass. We can help at every stage of the process, from design to installation.

See a few of our previous glass floor installations in our online gallery.

 

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Have you noticed how sunny days brighten up everyone spirits? Even the odd freezing, but bright and sunny winter day seems so much better than the grey and miserable days we’re used to at this time of year.

Skylights are a great way of letting that sunshine and natural light flood into your home, which not only brightens up your space and your mood, but also saves you money on energy bills! Here’s a few examples of how our skylights have transformed living spaces.

Fixed flat light floods stairwell with sunshine

Fixed Flat above stairwell

This Bolton Eco Home appeared on Grand Designs in 2016, and our roof lights played an important role in lighting the space.

Stairwells can be tricky to light, and often end up being dark areas. As you can see, the use of fixed flat skylights avoided this!

Slimline roof-light adds space and style

Slimline roof lantern

Keeping up the theme of television architecture and design shows, this home appeared on Building the Dream, hosted by architectural designer Charlie Luxton.

A slimline roof-light brings a great sense of space by adding height to the room, and really enhances the quality of the area by bringing in not only light, but style too.

Natural light enhances small room

Pyramid skylight in bathroom

Installing skylights in bathrooms can be a fantastic way to flood relatively small rooms with natural light. They can also be used instead of regular windows if you’re after that sense of privacy, but don’t want to sacrifice any natural light.

Here we can see that the placement of the pyramid skylight means you could look up at the stars whilst in the bath – what a relaxing way to end the day!

 

Roof lantern transforms kitchenLarge slimline above dining room

Natural light reaches every corner of this vast space thanks to a kitchen roof lantern, which lets natural light cascade into the room and complements the contemporary design.

This is a great example of how a skylight has reduced the amount of electric lighting necessary – and just look at how it illuminates the dining area!

Hinged opener skylights provide sunshine and ventilation

Opening rooflights in kitchen

Not only is it important that your kitchen is brightly lit, but also that it’s well-ventilated.

These Luxlite Hinged Opener skylights, with one either side of the cooker, ensure that both needs are met.

Bifold doors bring the outdoors in

rooflight in cottage

This beautiful, traditional cottage has benefited from both bifold doors and flat rooflights.

The bifold doors act to extend the living area by ensuring that the room remains visually connected to the exterior – in this case, the lush greenery, trees and light outside.

Striking contemporary roof-light complements modern home

rooflight contemporary design

From a traditional miner’s cottage to the other end of the spectrum, this state-of-the-art contemporary home has similarly benefited from the vast amounts of natural light which a skylight brings.

A modern design statement, this fixed flat roof-light allows natural light to pour into the stairwell and bounce off the white walls. The result is an area truly immersed in sunlight.

Whether your home is traditional or modern, small or large, you can be sure that more natural light will transform the space. Skylights and bifold doors are a great way to do this, as well as adding a sense of space, style and connection with the outdoors.

Get in touch with us today to discover how our roof-light products can help transform your home with natural light.

Call us on 0116 269 6297 or email sales@roof-maker.co.uk.

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CHALLENGE

In an effort to compliment a valued outdoor pool where the family spends much of its summer, a Pennsylvania resident constructed a timber-frame pergola and pavilion. The pergola design shades an outdoor fireplace, grill, and patio space. While offering scenic views of rolling country hills, the pavilion shelters a bathroom, kitchen, and dining area from the elements.

The client required a flexible schedule with which to finish the construction of the pavilion so that spatial limitations could be gauged. In need of a door and windows to complete the enclosure, the client reached out to Solar Innovations®.

SOLUTION

sliding glass windows for entertainingSolar Innovations® was eager to work around the client’s schedule. The project was broken into two halves for the client, one half being completed and shipped five months before the second. The project encompassed the installation of a three-panel folding door, five sliding windows, and four custom triangular fixed windows.
The sliding windows enable cross ventilation to cool the pavilion’s interior space. The windows come equipped with fiberglass screens to keep bugs from entering the enclosure. The three-panel folding door can be collapsed to unite the patio and pavilion. The end door of the three-panel folding door can also be swung open like a terrace door while the other two panels remain fixed. The glazing specified for all of the units is 1” LoE 272 tempered insulated glazing with argon filled airspaces for thermal efficiency.

The client’s pergola and pavilion, now equipped with quality doors and windows, further the functionality and appeal of the pool space. The pergola and pavilion have become ideal spaces for outdoor gatherings and summer recreation, and the enclosure offers inspiring views while also providing a refuge during inclement weather conditions.

PROJECT DETAILS

Series: SI8000 Thermally Broken Multi-Track Sliding Glass Window System,

Finish: AAMA Class I Dark Bronze Anodized

Glazing: LoE 272 Tempered Insulated Glazing

 

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A few weeks ago I visited a country in Asia after a Partner of XSPlatforms invited me there to meet some of his customers. More importantly, he wanted to show me some existing facade access projects with problems. A very worrying situation, which unfortunately occurs worldwide and hits the headlines way too often. And this was no exception…

Spotting unsafe situation

During one visit to a facade access project, I was taken to the roof to check out the facade access system, a locally made machine. Once I entered the roof, I was startled by what I saw. From a distance I could already see that this was a very dangerous machine. Some implications I spotted at a glance:

  • No lower or upper limit switches
  • These switches are normally installed to stop the winches when the cradle touches a solid surface or comes too close to the pantograph. In this case, the cradle would not be stopped when hoisted to high or descended too low, causing a collision.
  • A faulty pantograph
  • The design of the pantograph raised serious doubts about its strength.
  • The machine was not designed to any standard
  • The design of the machine implicated that the quality and safety of this system was questionable.

My first reaction was that nobody should ever use this machine. In a response to that, I was asked to find a solution for this situation and to make an offer. But before I could do that, our Partner suddenly sent me a newsletter article. The unsafe machine made it to the headlines: it had fallen off the roof, with all its consequences.

The big question that came to me was: “how is it possible that the definition of safety and how to deal with it varies between different people?”

“We’ve always done it this way”

In an earlier blog post about fall arrest I already pointed out that the viewpoint on safety more or less comes down to the same issue, which is the perspective from which you look at things.

For example, when you know you are not working safely, but still continue to work anyway just because of the argument “I’ve always done it this way” it will be just a matter of time that something will go wrong.

Probably the most important question to ask is how people develop such a perspective on safety.

Possible explanations for unsafe perspective

Absence of standards

Very often you see people developing a risky perspective on safety when no real standards exist in their country. Plenty of local manufacturers just place an unsafe machine on the roof without any hesitation. Until something goes horribly wrong. The absence of standards and the lack of knowledge from the manufacturers about standards is to blame. But how can you blame a manufacturer when no standards exist? Swift resolutions are required in those cases.

Lack of knowledge from clients

The majority of clients deal with placing a facade access system only once or twice in their lifetime. Obviously, they’re no experts in placing these systems, so they trust the manufacturer in placing a safe system without any risk for the end user. When a manufacturer (unknowingly) places an unsafe facade access system, the client is not able to spot this and unsafe situations occur.

Misunderstanding

A client thinks he is hiring an expert. In case of the example discussed earlier, a local manufacturer with lots of bad and mediocre references. Nevertheless, the assumption here is that the manufacturer is innocent until proven guilty and can continue with its business.

Third parties

A third party should help out a client in need of advice to prevent unsafe situations to occur. But in lots of cases, a third party is not hired or they lack knowledge to provide good advice.

Money

Obviously, money plays an important role. The more manufacturers make use of high quality materials, sophisticated 3D models and customizations, the safer the facade access system will be. But on the other hand the price will be higher.

Unfortunately, some manufacturers save on safety to offer a better price to the client.

How to minimize unsafe practices?

Unfortunately, accidents like the one described still happen too often worldwide, hurting lots of people closely involved in these accidents. We want to contribute to safer facade access systems everywhere in the world by sharing our knowledge and educating all those involved in facade access around the world.

That’s why we have developed an infographic for those considering placing a facade access system and hiring a manufacturer to do so. This infographic points out the most important factors in different stages of the process and provides a guideline for safe practices. You can request this infographic by leaving your e-mail address at the comments and we will send it to you.

Hopefully, sharing this knowledge will globally align the perspective on safety on the long run.

Author :

Geert Cox

CEO

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It’s time to think beyond countertops, cabinets and flooring to what’s going inside your walls, because that’s what affects your family’s comfort – and even their health.

House

Insulation can and should do more than help maintain comfortable temperatures. So as you’re planning to build or remodel a home, you need to understand that choosing the right insulation can help give your family Complete Comfort and protect the investment you’re about to make.

What’s to think about?

Energy efficiency and comfortable, consistent indoor temperatures, of course. That part – choosing the right R-value of your insulation – is pretty straightforward. But thanks to advances in building science, the types, and even the brand, of insulation products used in each area of your home can make a big difference in the other components of Complete Comfort: air tightness, noise levels and most importantly, moisture management – the ability to help reduce the potential for mold and mildew growth within your walls.

Why think about it now?

This one’s easy: you need to think about it now because upgrading later is difficult, disruptive and expensive. For comfort, savings and protecting your investment in the long run, you need to make the right choices now.

Why CertainTeed?

CertainTeed offers the widest selection of high-performance insulation products available. Each product has been scientifically developed to provide the maximum level of comfort, protection and efficiency. Regardless of your location or the challenges of your project, whether the answer is fiber glass, spray foam, blown-in or a hybrid system, CertainTeed has the right solution.

Image Source : ultimateradiantbarrier

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Channel 9’s hit television show The Block provided another amazing season in 2016. At Viridian, we were thrilled to be involved as a sponsorship partner, featuring not one but two of our residential glass products.

Our high-end glazing products proved to be a brilliant fit for the Art deco theme, with our LightBridgeTM and MirraEchoTM glass both playing major roles in the execution of the rooms, as well as the main entrance foyer. From stylish kitchen splash backs to hero ‘windows-as-walls’, our glass was a fundamental to The Block’s formation.VIS37_Hyatt_TheBlock_14

Season Architect for The Block Julian Brenchly sat down and discussed the importance of glass selection in making the apartments flourish– not only in aesthetic but comfort too. He explains;Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 5.37.44 PM

“The technology is extraordinary in the double-glazing we are putting in this building,” Brenchly explains. “People don’t even realise it and that is a good thing. They are not asking the question whether it is double-glazed because they are perfectly comfortable. If someone can walk into a room, not even notice it and walk back out again and feel perfectly comfortable – job done.”

With a huge factor of The Block coming down to the decorative element, it was essential that the mirrors created a timeless yet standout look to an already impressive building. Wanting to keep the design simple and classy, it was imperative the design wasn’t polarising but warm and inviting for tenants and visitors.Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 5.37.56 PM

“The towering, beveled foyer mirrors in Viridian MirraEchoTM are quite a standout,” Brenchly explains. “That bronze finish is really a spectacular bit of glass work. It’s a spectacular example of how to use glass in a building both for colour and for mirrors in the foyer with a beveled edge detail. It’s really such a simple thing to have bronzed mirrors and yet it offers this amazing colour against the white wall. You walk in there and don’t even realise that it is a bright, stark white wall because you are so drawn to the warmth of the glass and reflection. That is fantastic.”

“Everyone in Viridian’s team worked with the external glazing and all the intricacies involved. That is no mean feat to provide double-glazed panels that retrofit into existing steel frames that are complex in their own right. The team has done a great job and the proof is in the pudding. It really does work.”

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 5.53.53 PM

With a strong focus on the amazing views available to them, a huge highlight of the building is absolutely the abundance of windows and harnessing the building’s natural light. It was a key factor to its brilliance, with Brenchly stating, “the standout qualities in a consistent sense for each part of the building is how they have responded to the light.”

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 5.54.14 PM

As huge advocates for sustainability, we were thrilled to learn that the same enthusiasm is shared by Brenchley and the producers of The Block, with Brenchly explaining that it’s something they feel very strongly about and hope to incorporate for years to come.

“The new owners of these fabulous apartments show that everyone’s on board with that message in terms of one aspect of sustainability. I’m rapt to be able to say I am involved in that particular genre. Let’s call it adaptive reuse. I would like to take the strength of that message to the next Block, and the next Block and the next Block.”

Well that’s music to our ears!

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Defying the elements – façade and window sealing

The building envelope forms the interface between the interior and the exterior of the building and is therefore subjected to constant internal and external strain. It should have a positive impact on the energy management of the building and also serves as a physical barrier, both from a climatic and visual point of view.

Barely any other building component has seen so much change over the course of the centuries as the façade. Whereas its initial function was simply to protect the building from the weather, today’s façades must fulfil a catalogue of requirements. The façade provides protection from wind, rain, heat and noise from the outside. From the inside, it has a significant impact on the well-being of the building’s occupants and increases the comfort of the interior space. The façade of the building is also frequently used as a means of representation and as an element of the building’s design.

Gap-free, air-tight façade- and window sealing plays a central role in every building: it prevents structural damage, saves energy and provides a pleasant indoor climate. In these times, when saving energy is a key discussion point, façade and window sealing is more pertinent than ever before.

What is façade sealing?

Sealing the building envelope against moisture and the effects of the weather on the structure of the building is a complex area: the construction of the building is decisive in planning the structural joints.

The sealing system deployed is always dependent on the façade and the internal factors of the building. Glass- and system façades, natural stone façades, concrete façades, brick façades, mixed-material façades and more: different materials pose very different challenges when creating a gap-free seal for a façade. The solutions are just as individual as the challenges themselves. Adhesives and sealants are used just as frequently as sealing tapes and membranes. When sealing a façade, sealing the joints is a particularly vital aspect. Joint sealing tapes such as illbruck TP600 illmod 600 provide durable seals for connecting joints which are resistant to weathering and driving rain while still allowing vapour diffusion.

Window sealing – a special case

Window sealing is an important discipline within façade sealing. The point at which the window frame meets the wall is particularly prone to leakage. But leaky internal window connecting joints can cause damp air to penetrate into the joint area and condense: this will result in moisture damage and mould formation.

When sealing windows, the most diverse wall structures, constructions and numerous structural conditions interact with one another. With the right techniques and correctly applied products, a durable and reliable seal can be created in these circumstances too.

The solution-based approach for air-tight window sealing can be summed up using the 3-layer model: the inner seal is airtight, the mid-section provides thermal and noise insulation and the external seal is resistant to driving rain and more open to vapour diffusion than inside.

Modular window sealing using the i3-System

The best results in sealing are achieved when all three layers of the seal are tailored to one another. The well-known illbruck i3 window sealing system includes numerous components for every sealing layer. The products, which can be mixed and matched, can be used in a modular fashion depending on the individual installation situation and are equally suitable for use for single-leaf walls, external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS), wooden frame constructions and double-leaf walls.

The system, which consists of high-quality, innovative products delivering a customised service, offers quality solutions for every window sealing scenario.

Advantages of façade and window sealing

  • Structural damage caused by moisture and mould is avoided
  • The quality of the living environment is improved thanks to an optimal room climate
  • Energy is conserved thanks to the air-tight façades of the building envelope and window joints
  • Gap-free noise insulation and absorption are provided

tremco illbruck, a competent partner

Each building site is unique, that’s why we at tremco illbruck rely on flexible systems. With an understanding of the specifics of the building structure, far-sighted planning and the right construction products for the job, even the complex task of sealing the façades and windows is effortless.

Services and consultancy for façade and window sealing

Our commitment to innovation isn’t restricted to the products alone. We offer our customers and business partners tailored support, with numerous programmes and services. The “joint planning team” offers detailed planning services with 3D drawings, isothermal calculations and thermographies, documentation and on-site inductions for installers.

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How to Prevent Glass Corrosion Glass + Moisture = Stain by Paul F. Duffer

During the past 100 years, commercial flat glasses have acquired a reputation as being among the most durable of materials used in the construction and fabrication industries. This is not surprising, for our common, day- to-day experiences tell us that glass seems to be immune to any form of degradation. Except for those of us involved in glass research, the mere mention of glass corrosion or staining to most people receives a skeptical response. Unfortunately, glass really can corrode. In fact, glass damaged by staining and corroding has resulted in losses to glass manufacturers and fabricators amounting to millions of dollars. Although the phenomenon itself is often
misunderstood, the end result of the corrosion process is a glass product that is unsuitable for fabrication or installation.

Thus, the particular circumstances under which staining or corroding occurs need to be addressed, so that glass handlers and others who may encounter corrosion-related problems when dealing with glass can know the best way to prevent them.

For years, scientists have known that water reacts with commercial soda-lime-silica glass compositions. While the interaction may be subtle and slow paced, appearing to be neither significant nor spectacular to the casual observer, the outcome can be serious to glass manufacturers and fabricators. Whenever water is permitted to remain on a glass surface for longer than a moment, several unique chemical reactions can occur that cause corrosion damage, or stain. The first of these begins almost immediately after water contacts the glass, even at room temperature.

In technical terms, this initial reaction at the glass surface is characterized by a diffusion- controlled ion-exchange process involving sodium ions in the glass and hydrogen ions from the water. Stated more simply, water readily leaches, or takes, sodium ions from soda-lime-silica glasses. This leaching process, which glass scientists commonly refer to as Stage 1 corrosion, can be expressed by the following reaction scheme:

SiONa (glass) + H2O (solution) SiOH (glass) + NaOH (solution)

If Stage 1 corrosion is allowed to continue uninterrupted for only a few minutes, pH levels gradually increase from an accumulation of hydroxide ions (OH-) in solution. Eventually, the increase in alkalinity of the contact solution will initiate other, more damaging reactions. Therefore, the leaching process needs to be examined more carefully.

The reason solution pH increases can be explained by basic chemistry principles. Pure water is a weak electrolyte that spontaneously breaks down partially into hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxide ions (OH-) according to the simplified expression: H2O H+ + OH-. At 25° C (77° F), this equilibrium condition is described by an ionization constant, Kw, as given by the equation Kw = 1 X 10-14 = (H+) (OH-).

In other words, at a given temperature, the product of the hydrogen ion and hydroxideion concentrations remains constant. For water in contact with a glass surface, however, the exchange process tends to deplete the supply of hydrogen ions in solution, causing an imbalance in the equilibrium represented by the equation just given. In order to reestablish equilibrium, more water molecules dissociate, producing additional H+ and OH- species. As the original quantity of OH- was not affected by the exchange process, further dissociation of H2O results in an increase in hydroxide ion concentration and a commensurate rise in pH.

Recent experiments with commercial float- produced glasses have shown that an unsubdued ion-exchange reaction can produce contact solution pH values as high as 9.9, which is highly alkaline. As long as solution pH levels remain well below 9.0, Stage 1 corrosion proceeds as the predominant reaction at the glass surface. During this period, optical quality and surface integrity remain essentially unaffected. In fact, extensive laboratory studies have revealed that the leaching process can be carried out on float glasses for several months at 140° F without any adverse effects on surface quality being observed, so long as increases in solution pH levels are controlled. However, unrestrained State 1 corrosion can lead, as previously mentioned, to highly alkaline conditions.

Once solution pH levels reach 9.0 or greater, the second important reaction in the glass corrosion process – Stage 2 – begins. At this point, hydroxide ion concentration is sufficient to begin attack of the silicate network. As shown in the following equation, the main reaction is the severing of silicon-oxygen bonds (the glass itself is slowly dissolved): Si-O-Si (glass) + OH- (solution) Si-OH (glass) + O-Si (dissolved glass; sodium and calcium silicates).

During the beginning stages of this reaction, microscopic pitting of the surface occurs. If the reaction is allowed to continue, surface damage will become more apparent, and the glass may have a widespread iridescence or a dense, translucent haze like that shown in

01
Fig. 1.

In each case, the optical quality of the glass is destroyed even though overall mechanical integrity of the glass is maintained. What actually occurs is a combination of Stage 2 phenomena: The glass network dissolves, and by-products such as sodium and calcium silicates work together to affect the appearance of the glass. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can also react with moisture on the glass surface to form additional surface residues, typically of sodium and calcium carbonates. Restoring the pristine surface quality to severely corroded glass is at best a formidable task. Grinding and polishing could, with much time and effort, restore the optical characteristics of glass corroded like that shown in Fig. 2. However, this solution is not practical nor economical; it is simply easier to discard all heavily corroded glass.

2
Fig. 2

Restoring Corroded Glass
Yet, there are occasions when it is advantageous to restore lightly corroded surfaces. With a little practice, anyone
should be able to identify lightly “stained” glass that can be successfully restored. The degree of surface corrosion that is acceptable in any glass fabrication process is directly related to the surface quality required by the end use of the glass. Mirror silvering, vacuum coating, and chemical etching processes are all highly sensitive to the presence of even minor surface damage,which can be invisible to the naked eye. On the other hand, lightly corroded glass may, in many instances, be cleaned sufficiently with acidic detergents or abrasive agents, such as pumice or cerium oxide, so that it can be used in less critical applications where no coatings are involved.

When lightly corroded glass is successfully restored, the sodium and calcium silicates are removed as well as any carbonate residues that may have precipitated on the glass surface as by-products of the Stage 2 reaction. The actual network damage affecting optical quality is so slight that it is of no consequence in less critical applications.

Conditions for Corrosion

Once the glass has been properly cleaned and dried, the corrosion process is suppressed. It is unlikely that it will begin in the finished glass product.  Obviously, the average homeowner, car driver, or commercial building owner does not usually observe surface corrosion damage on finished glass products. When, then, is glass most likely to corrode, and when is it most likely to be noticed? Fig. 2

In order for glass to corrode, certain conditions must exist that are not usually found outside glass manufacturing or
fabricating. The single most important difference between the manufacturers’ and fabricators’ experience with glass from that of the end user is storage and handling of glass packages containing several individual lights. In fact, it is the glass package where the corrosion process is most likely to occur. In packaged glass, it is the spaces between adjacent glass lights where the conditions for corrosion can exist. If no environmental controls are set up during storage, these spaces can readily trap and retain moisture if temperatures drop below the dew point (when daytime temperature is 80° F and relative humidity is 61 %, the dew point is 65° F). Once this occurs, Stage 1 corrosion begins, which soon will lead to Stage 2 activity and ultimate surface damage unless the process is stopped.

The reason that glass corrosion is not usually observed on fabricated glass products stems from the fact that moisture in contact with installed units is not trapped or stagnated, as it is in a glass package. With most glass products, the environment is such that water in contact with a glass surface either quickly evaporates or is highly diluted by normal weathering conditions. In any case, the critical pH levels required to promote Stage 2 corrosion are not reached, and the glass remains undamaged. For most casual observers, the two most likely situations in which glass corrosion may have been observed are in double-light sealed insulating units in which the seal has failed (Fig.2) and narrow neck bottles containing liquid that have been allowed to set for long periods of time (Figs. 3a and 3b).

3a
Fig. 3a

3b
Fig. 3b

A double-light window unit that has seal failure will show a milky white haze on the interior surfaces. The white haze is actually surface corrosion damage. When double- pane units fail, moisture is allowed to enter the airspace separating the glass lights. The relative humidity in the airspace can reach levels where evaporation is not resulting in a net loss of moisture, and water-induced corrosion reactions take place. A similar situation can occur in narrow-neck bottles where the rate of evaporation is greatly reduced by the constricted opening. Solution pH can, in time, reach critical levels, where it is between 9.0 and 9.9, and can cause permanent surface damage. Perhaps you have found an antique bottle lying in a field with milky white surface deposits that could not be removed no matter what cleaning agents were used.

Interleaving Systems

While the end-user customer has little need to be concerned about glass surface corrosion, glass manufacturers and fabricators do need to be. As stacked glass provides the most common environment for corrosion, and storage conditions cannot always be controlled, manufacturers usem techniques to retard stain damage in packaged glass. They do so by using any of a variety of powdered and paper interleaving systems. Interleaving materials used in glass packaging today serve two purposes. First, they mechanically separate individual lights to prevent abrasion and other mechanical damage during shipping and handling. Second, functional interleaving systems also contain relatively harmless acidic chemicals to neutralize Stage 1 alkali buildup and provide pH control. Paper interleaving materials in general are excellent separators that prevent mechanical damage during handling and transport. Some papers, like newsprint, also effectively reduce the probability of chemical attack by keeping pH levels below critical values during storage. This occurs because of the presence of naturally occurring organic acids that typically give the paper a pH value of 5.0.

Because of its favorable characteristics, paper interleaving was once the preferred packaging material in the glass industry. Today, however, because of new technological developments in glass production and fabricating, and rising materials and labor costs, the use of paper interleaving has, for the most part, become limited to the packaging of fabricated products. It was the advent of float glass technology, as well as the emergence of automated procedures for unpacking and handling glass before fabrication, that necessitated the need for new interleaving systems. Today, powdered interleaving has become the preferred one. Powdered interleaving systems offer many interrupting float glass production, and it is compatible with automatic unpacking systems. Paper interleaving is more than 30 times more expensive to use than today’s most popular powdered materials. Handling and disposing of paper interleaving can be expensive and problematic for the glass fabricator as well as the producer.

The developer of powdered interleaving systems began in earnest about 22 years ago. Initially, materials such as polystyrene beads blended with salicylic acid were tested. More exotic systems using ground coconut shells or wood flour combined with an organic acid were also investigated. It was about 12 years ago that powdered interleaving systems first appeared. They use polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) beads as the separator medium and provide excellent protection against mechanical damage. PMMA beads are highly resilient; beads ranging in size from -60 to +120 mesh have been shown to be able to withstand pressure of 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi) for one hour without being permanently deformed. PMMA beads are also chemically inert under the conditions found in typical glass storage environments. Today’s most popular powdered interleaving also includes adipic acid as a defensive measure to retard increases in pH levels should Stage 1 corrosion ever begin within the packaged glass. Adipic acid, a weak organic acid, is a solid-form food additive. It is blended with the PMMA beads in equal portions by weight. Together, these materials offer the full complement of performance characteristics required of any effective glass interleaving system. advantages. Powdered interleaving can bereadily applied to glass surfaces with

How does a powdered interleaving system actually prevent glass staining as well as mechanical damage, such as surface scratches? In order to understand, it may be helpful to know what happens if interleaving is not used, a question asked by some buyers of primary glass. If no interleaving is used, the stage is set for development of the most severe glass corrosion environment imaginable.

Without interleaving materials, the distance between non-contacting points on adjacent glass surfaces can be as little as 0.0007 to 0.0009 inch, which is about a third of the thickness of a sheet of newspaper. Fig. 4 shows a unique cross-sectional view of non- interleaved glass.

04
Fig. 4

Under these conditions, the quantity of water found in a small droplet -0.1 milliliter, or about the amount of water in two raindrops – could come into intimate contact with more than 16 square inches of glass surface. In a very short time (several days at room temperature), pH levels would reach the critical stage -pH of 9.0- and the glass would soon suffer irreparable corrosive damage. The absence of interleaving also leaves the glass highly susceptible to being scratched. What happens when a neutral, non-reactive separation medium, such as PMMA beads, is applied between stacked glass lights as shown in Fig. 5. Notice how the beads act as tiny ball bearings that prevent sliding friction between the glass. The distance between adjacent surfaces has been increased to 0.01 inch; a 0.1-milliliter water droplet would cover only 1.6 square inches of glass surface, tenth that for non- interleaved glass. In other words, it would take an entire milliliter of water to achieve intimate contact with 16 square inches of glass surface area.

05
Fig. 5

However, this “spacing” effact dos not significantly act to prevent glass staining. The additional space between the glass lights permits more condensate to form on given surface area. As a result, the by- products of Stage 1 corrosion, when evolved, accumulate in a greater volume of moisture than they would when non interleaving is used. The net result is that it takes slightly longer for critical pH levels to be reached This may mean an additional shelf life of one to two weeks, at most, compared to glass that has no interleaving. In order for increased separation to be effective in preventing stain, spacing between packaged glass lights would have to be increased to at least a quarter of an inch or larger in order to allow a dynamic weathering environment to exist between stacked glass lights.

This would be impractical. If, for example, this spacing were used with an average case of 135 patio door lights measuring 34 by 76 inches, with 3-millimeter glass, the case width would increase from 22 inches to more than 4 feet. Obviously, neutral, nonreactive interleaving materials alone cannot meet performance levels required to prevent glass corrosion during storage. It is for this reason that effective glass interleaving systems include acidic materials. Without them, Stage 2 corrosion would begin to wreak havoc on the surface quality of stored glass. Glass cannot be safely stored for any length of time without an acidic interleaving material being in place unless it is stored in an environmentally controlled warehouse. On the other hand, powdered interleaving, when properly distributed to a glass surface (see Fig. 6), can provide corrosion-free storage for 12 months or longer.

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Fig. 6

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A glass balustrade can transform your stairs, landing or balcony into a thing of beauty. And there are so many different styles of glass balustrade to choose from, you’re sure to find one that suits and enhances the style of your building perfectly.

Will you choose a clean and simple clear glass, a traditional decorative glass featuring a frosted logo or design, or the dramatic look of painted glass for maximum impact?

But the type of fittings you choose for your glass balustrade is just as important – if not more important – than the type of glass.

The fittings you choose will affect not only the look of your glass balustrade, but more crucially, the overall strength and safety of your balustrade system.

The type of fittings you choose will depend on the style of glass balustrade you are installing and where you are installing it. Framed, semi-framed and frameless glass balustrades are the three main systems available.

Which clamps will I need for my glass balustrade?

A typical glass balustrade will be made from toughened glass a minimum of 10mm thick, ensuring it is durable and strong enough to provide an effective safety system. As a rule of thumb, every square meter of glass will require four glass clamps to fix panels securely to the posts.

The style of fittings you choose will depend on the look you want to create. Glass balustrades are typically a very contemporary, urban design feature, which tends to sit well with stainless steel clamps, handrails and posts. But wooden options for handrails and posts are also available, offering a very attractive alternative.

Frameless glass balustrades

For frameless glass balustrades – also known as structural or cantilevered glass balustrades – much of the strength of the balustrade system comes from the glass itself. There’s no handrail or posts to support the structure or provide a safety net should one of the glass panels break, so the glass itself must be more durable. Laminated glass is required for this type of balustrade system, and the laminated glass will also have to be toughened, with a minimal thickness of 15mm for residential settings. Commercial sites can require toughened glass up to 19mm or thicker.

The rest of the structural strength for a frameless glass balustrade comes from its base fittings, or shoe profile. This is basically a “U” channel that the glass panels are securely fixed into, using either a strong epoxy glue, a special type of cement, pressure-screwed clamps or hammered-in wedges. The base is fixed to the building structure by the appropriate means for that particular site. Each site must be individually assessed for this, and the fixings purpose-designed to ensure they’re capable of withstanding the load of the substantial glass panels.

As leading commercial glass suppliers, Peterlee Glass offers a wide choice when it comes to glass balustrade systems. Our experts can help you at every stage of the process, from the design, to the supply and the installation of your glass balustrade.

Call into our Trade Centre, where you can choose from wide range of balustrade fittings, get technical and design advice from the experts, or get a quote.

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