IGMA Summer Conference – Report from the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Committee
By Patrick Flannery
The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance held its Summer Conference on July 31 through August 2 in Vancouver. The event attracted over 100 insulating glass fabricators for three days of informative presentations and discussion.
Helen Sanders of Technoform and David Cooper of Guardian co-chaired a meeting of the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Committee. IGMA technical consultant, Bill Lingnell, led off with a report from the thermal stress standard task group. Lingnell discussed the group’s efforts to create a standard for the amount of stress insulating glass should be able to take from changes in temperature. The work takes off from Lingnell’s earlier work establishing a standard for monolithic glass, but he says the issue gets much more complicated with IGUs. With help from a graduate student, the group has created 450 finite element models and conducted 6,750 analyses to determine the behaviour of insulating glass under various temperature conditions. Lingnell says one discovery was that the bite on the glass from the frame is a critical factor. With that work mostly done, they are turning to writing a standard, which the group hopes will be accepted by ASTM in the future. Another goal is to develop a software tool telling fabricators how much thermal variation their designs will tolerate.
David Cooper told the committee that a guideline document for vacuum insulating glass is now available on the IGMA website and the task group has moved to working on a standard. One issue that has been identified is the tendancy of the lites in VIG units to deflect due to the extreme temperature differences one either side of the window. Questions about structural strength, testing and hybrid systems remain outstanding.
John Kent reported from the ASTM E2190 field correlation study task group, which is seeking to establish an accelerated pressure/temperature/UV stress test that can provide a provisional E2190 certification for fabricators until full testing can be done. The group has found it difficult to find a test method and pressure testing apparatus that delivers results consistent with the existing E2190 method because of the variable results from the IGUs tested. Even from the same supplier, some last a long time, some fail quickly. Argon fill seems to have a consistent effect, more than doubling the endurance of the unit. Edge support also appears to be a critical factor. Dessicant appears to become less effective at cold temperatures. In the next round of research the group wants to look at semi-rigid sealing technologies, but getting samples and access to a testing apparatus remains a challenge.
The life cycle assessment task group reported that California has introduced a bill called the Buy Clean Act that will require companies to report the contribution to climate change that their product represents. Margaret Webb, IGMA executive director, has published an article explaining that creation of an industry-wide Environmental Product Declaration for flat glass may be the only way for the industry to ensure a fair standard for environmental authorities to refer to.