You are on page 1of 3

Published in

Glass Magazine

September 2005

Compatibility
Key to longevity, appearance
By Mike Sebold
To be effective, structural glazing systems must be designed as complete and unified systems, including frame, glass and glazing components such as structural silicone, gaskets, tape, blocks and other ancillary elements. Compatibility of these components is a primary concern. Incompatible components may result in the loss of silicone adhesion to the glass or metal surfaces. Chemical incompatibility may be seen as staining in the silicone sealant. Long-term performance and sustained appearance depend on all products co-existing and being compatible with each other. applied structural glazing sealants when in contact with accessories such as dry glazing gaskets, spacers, shims and setting blocks after exposure to heat and ultraviolet light. Testing will determine changes in color of sealant, adhesion to glass substrate and change in adhesion to accessory material. Researchers prepare test specimens with a black test sealant in contact with the accessory specimen, along with a light-colored or translucent reference sealant, placed together on a clean glass substrate as shown in the illustration at right. After the sealants have cured for a week, the test specimens are placed in an Ultraviolet

Color changes in the translucent silicone sealant surrounding ethylene propylene diene monomer and neoprene gaskets can generally be attributed to migration of plasticizers into the silicone, indicating incompatibility. sealant back at a 90-degree angle from the glass surface to determine the mode and percentage of adhesive or cohesive failure for each specimen to both the glass and accessory item, as shown above. Glazing components to support and cushion the glass are typically made from EPDM, neoprene, silicone or siliconecompatible rubber compounds. EPDM and neoprene compounds are generally not approved for full contact with the structural silicone sealant in structural glazing applications. Silicone rubber and silicone-compatible rubber formulations such as Tremcos SCR-900 have been used on structural glazing projects of all types around the world. In-a typical two-sided structurally glazed assembly, glaziers use gaskets or tapes to position the glass from the metal support and create a space for the structural silicone sealant. These materials must be approved for full contact, as described in the ASTM C 1087 test method. Researchers review components making point contact or incidental contact with the structural silicone bead for

Using the standard test method for determining compatibility, ASTM Internationals ASTM C 1087, researchers observe liquid-applied structural glazing sealants in contact with dry glazing gaskets, spacers, shims and setting blocks after exposure to heat and ultraviolet light to determine the mode of failure and percentage of adhesive or cohesive failure to both the glass and accessory material when pulled back at a 90-degree angle from the glass surface.

Compatibility is defined as the ability of two or more materials to exist in contact or in effective proximity for an indefinite period without adverse chemical effects on one another. A critical consequence of incompatibility can be loss of adhesion of the silicone sealant to the substrates. The standard test method for determining compatibility of liquid-applied sealants with accessories used in structural glazing systems is ASTM Internationals standard, ASTM C 1087. This test method covers a laboratory-screening procedure for determining the compatibility of liquid-

Exposure Apparatus at an elevated temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Lab workers check the specimens weekly for any noticeable color changes that would indicate incompatibility. Sealant color changes with neoprene and ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber extrusions can generally be attributed to migration of plasticizers into the silicone adhesive. This may lead to significant deterioration in the silicone adhesives strength or adhesion. Following the UV exposure, lab workers remove the specimens and allow them to cool for four hours. Then they pull the

In a typical 2-sided structurally glazed assembly, gaskets or tapes used to position the glass from the metal support and create a space for the structural silicone sealant must be approved for full contact under ASTM Internationals Full contact ASTM C 1087 test method. condition The interior wedge must be compatible for point contact with the vertical tensile bead. The exterior weather bead is a nonstructural bead and must be compatible for point contact with Point contact the exterior pre-set condition gaskets. compatibility and acceptable adhesion to make sure the system will be weathertight. EPDM compounds are generally approved by the sealant supplier for point contact conditions when using a black silicone sealant. Researchers review the kind of gaskets making contact with the exterior weather bead at the head and sill conditions to ensure they will not discolor or cause a loss of adhesion with the silicone sealant. Adhesion may be required to limit air and water infiltration. The structural glazing systems adhesion, weatherability and durability, as well as aesthetic implications, over the long term depend on all products being compatible throughout their lives. A review of project details and adhesion or compatibility testing of all structural components must, therefore, be conducted by the sealant manufacturer.

Point contact weather bead condition

formulated into gaskets and accessories and approved for full contact with structural silicone sealants; TRS 600, formulated from a blend of elastomers to produce a highly adhesive, flexible sealant; and PolyshimII Tape, a 100 percent solids, highly adhesive and elastic, cross-linked butyl preformed tape with a continuous integral EPDM shim. The glazier was Applewood Glass & Mirror Inc.-JTI Industries Inc. of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. When such a structural glazing project begins, a Tremco sales representative will initiate a project review with one of its glazing technical-service representatives. Structural glazing details for the job will be submitted along with elevations and wind-load information so that calculations may be done for sealant-contact depth and approved bead size. Samples are requested of all substrates the sealants will be applied to so that compatibility and adhesion testing may be done as well as anything else it will come in contact with. Tremco provides all the components within the glazing system such as gaskets, glazing tapes, setting blocks, shims and spacers so compatibility with these ancillary components has already been conducted on an ongoing basis, reducing the time involved in compatibility testing and the number of touch points. On a job where only the gaskets have been supplied, these must also be supplied to the sealant manufacturer for testing. Without this testing by appropriate manufacturers, the glazier owns the job and all the responsibility associated with it.

Test each time


When mixing components from various suppliers, the testing done before the onset of a project remains the only indicator of compatibility and performance over the life of the project. Suppliers providing the structural silicone as well as the gaskets, tape, blocks and other ancillary components have already done extensive testing to ensure compatibility of these components and can streamline this process while providing the assurance of single-source responsibility.

At this point, the glazing technical service representative will initiate the compatibility and adhesion testing through a technician. This testing will typically take up to four weeks. Testing will be done with primers and cleaning materials as well. Appropriate materials and general procedures will be forwarded with results to the customer. While this is Glazing products from Tremco include Proglaze II Structural Silicone Sealant, a being done, the structural glazing drawings will be reviewed and a two-part, high-modulus silicone sealant certification letter will be provided. developed for in-plant two- and four-sided Tony Menecola, president of Applewood structural glazing and curtain-wall Glass & Mirror, selected Tremco for the applications; Spectrem 2 Silicone job because Tremco could provide all the Sealant, a one-part, high-performance silicone sealant appropriate as a weather components. On a job like the Toronto BMW facility, the complexity and the seal and tensile bead in two-sided structural glazing systems; SCR Silicone- demands of the job left no room for problems. It makes a difference that the Compatible Rubber Extrusions, a supplier has all the components, and we silicone-compatible rubber compound had a level of comfort that it would look

For example, in October 2004, BMW Toronto created an innovative luxury car dealership with a configuration unprecedented in the automotive industry. Company officials wanted maximum visibility on Torontos Don Valley Parkway that carries nearly 100,000 commuters daily. To establish this presence, BMW took a six-story former soap factory with close proximity to the highway and gutted it. The building now stands like a billboard with structural glazing on three sides. Oversized glass spans 10-foot wide by 14-foot high. Walls disappear and facades become huge screens for multiple images displaying the latest BMWs. There are: * 20,000 square feet of unitized curtain wall with 150 1O-by-14-foot panels 15,000 square feet of ground-floor curtain wall * 2,800 square feet of structural point supported glass * 1,500 square feet of crystal-clear lowiron showcase glass * 2,600 square feet of interior office partitions * 2,000 square feet of shop windows.

after us and stand behind us, he says. We used the companys glazing products on the whole job and everything went smoothly. For more information, call 800/ 321-7906.