February 27, 2020

Case Study: Performance to Match Antarctic Conditions

by Guest Blogger

The harshest cold-weather conditions on Earth exist in Antarctica. It’s the coldest, driest and windiest continent, with temperatures on record dipping as far as -128.6°F (-89.2°C).
It’s also home to thousands of scientists and researchers from around the globe, with numerous facilities dotting the icy landscape. Read about how Super Spacer TriSeal was a intregal part inis one of them—a permanent, year-round military and scientific research compound that also includes a large, frequently used airfield sometimes referred to as “Antarctica’s Entrance Door.”
For the people who live and work at Marambio Base for weeks, months and years at a time, indoor comfort is of the utmost importance. Structures here use the highest quality insulative materials to maintain livability for the interior spaces. So, when base operators began to undertake significant renovations, including windows and doors throughout the facility, Super Spacer® TriSeal™ from Quanex Building Products was identified as the right fit for the highest possible performance.
“We needed to achieve the greatest insulation possible, and in order to do that, we knew warm-edge flexible spacer was a necessity for the insulating glass used in the remodel,” said Mariano Stefano, engineer with La Casa de los Cristales®, one of Argentina’s top glass fabrication and distribution companies. “Our company has worked extensively with Quanex over the years, but never before on a project like this. It was a unique project in a hostile climate that needed to stand up to the coldest temperatures on earth.”
Achieving the Pinnacle of Thermal Performance.
The demands for the project were established early: Insulating glass (IG) needed to reach a K coefficient of 1.6 kcal/h·m2·°C. Windows also needed to achieve a high solar factor, allowing the sun’s rays to enter the interior and provide heat—without letting that heat escape.
To meet these needs, the insulating glass configuration included triple-glazed units with two low-e and tempered glass lites, with 4-millimeter tempered glass in the middle. Two, 9-millimeter airspace chambers filled with argon gas were sealed with Super Spacer TriSeal.
Super Spacer TriSeal provides a unique triple seal design that incorporates an inner acrylic adhesive seal for immediate unit handling, a polyisobutylene primary seal for enhanced gas retention and low moisture vapor transmission, and an outer silicone seal for proven structural strength and superior durability.
“We chose Super Spacer TriSeal because it’s the best technology available in both composition and adhesion,” Stefano said. “The butyl, the adhesive and the structural silicone make Super Spacer TriSeal the most complete spacer available versus other available options, and we knew it was the right choice to ensure the completed IG units met the high demands of the application.”
Testing and Logistics.
La Casa de los Cristales worked closely with Quanex engineers throughout the development and testing process to ensure the units would perform to specification once installed in their final application.
“Testing is always important, but in this application, the stakes were even higher,” said Quanex Senior Technical Services Engineer Doug Hauck. “Given the extreme temperatures experienced in Antarctica, any compromise on performance or potential for unit failure would be a major challenge to correct.”
Getting the completed units to their final destination was no simple task. Units were manufactured in Olavarría, Argentina, before they were packed and loaded onto a military aircraft for delivery at Marambio Base. Once on-site, the units were joined with their framing and properly installed in applications throughout the base.
“Once the windows were installed and heat was provided to the space, the interior of the glass was measured as a final test,” said Stefano. “The interior glass surface measured 64°F (18°C), while the exterior temperature was -13°F (-25°C).”
With the work completed by La Casa de los Cristales and Quanex, researchers working at Marambio Base can trust in long-lasting thermal performance and interior comfort—even in the most extreme conditions on Earth.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: February 27, 2020 by Guest Blogger Filed under: architecture, performance, windows