Volume 46, Issue 11 - December 2011


PGC International Holds Annual Symposium

Experts from various government and private agencies talked about how best to fight natural disasters during the Protective Glazing Council International’s annual symposium on October 26 at the National Institute of Standards (NIST) headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md.

“Natural and technological disasters cause [the United States] an estimated $57 billion in damages each year,” said Stephen A. Cauffman, deputy chief of Materials and Structural Systems at NIST.

Among the causes of damage during hurricanes is water. Detailed studies have to be conducted to identify mechanisms for water ingress into buildings during hurricanes, and improved building envelope construction and cladding systems have to be developed to resist water ingress, Cauffman said. “Moving forward, we will need risk consistent, performance-based codes and standards for resilience, and a comprehensive approach to design guidance for the built environment.”

In his presentation, “Testing for Tornadoes and its Influence on Codes,” Larry J. Tanner, P.E., of Texas Tech University said, “Seventy percent of insurance dollars [in the U.S.] go to storm-related damages; another 25 percent goes to earthquake damages.” It is Tanner’s experience that during a storm the glass that stays in is the inner lites of double-glazed windows. “That’s not saying that double-glazed panes are tornado-proof, but they do seem to provide some semblance of holding up,” he said.

Errol Bull, P.E., with Momentive Performance Materials in Waterford, N.Y., gave a presentation entitled “Sealants in Glazing Systems for Earthquake.” Designers can either choose structural silicone glazing (SSG) or a dry-glazed system, he said. “The ASTM C1401-09a Standard Guide for Structural Sealant Glazing suggests that there are potential intrinsic benefits to using SSG systems in seismic regions, such as controlling and, in some cases, eliminating breakage normally experienced during a small to moderate earthquake,” he said.

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