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Title:
INSULATED GLAZING UNIT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/034573
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An insulated glazing unit (IGU) for use in the glazing and building industry. The IGU 10 has a plurality of spaced apart glazed panes 13 defining a sealable gap 15 between the glazed panes 15 where the gap 15 is adapted to be hermetically sealed from the atmosphere by a non-adhesive seal 30 situated on and adjacent the periphery internal edges of the glazed panes 13. The seal 30 is not bonded or fixed to the surfaces of the glazed panes 13. The glazed panes 13 are held together by a holding assembly 40, 50 positioned on and along the periphery of the glazed panes 13. The holding assembly 40, 50 has supporting surfaces 41, 51 that are configured, shaped and adapted to support the glazed panes 13 and to hold and retain the glazed panes 13 and the seal 30 together to provide a sandwich seal that creates and maintains the hermetic sealing of the gap 15 and that allows for the compensation of the movement of the glazed panes 13 resulting from climatic conditions such as thermal expansion and wind without effecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal. The IGU can include a desiccating pump 20 sealingly fitted to a hole 14 in one of the glass panes 13. The desiccating pump 20 allows the air within the gap 15 to be maintained free of water vapour.

Inventors:
REID, Stuart Dundonald (266 Normandale Road, Lower Hutt, 5010, 5010, NZ)
Application Number:
NZ2017/050098
Publication Date:
February 22, 2018
Filing Date:
July 21, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
REID, Stuart Dundonald (266 Normandale Road, Lower Hutt, 5010, 5010, NZ)
International Classes:
E06B3/663; E06B3/667; E06B3/677
Foreign References:
US2565937A1951-08-28
US2620522A1952-12-09
US9074413B12015-07-07
US2025770A1935-12-31
US2021179A1935-11-19
US2617159A1952-11-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERTSON, Thomas George et al. (Level 1, 29 Waterloo RoadLower Hutt, 5010, 5010, NZ)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

Claim I : An insulated glazing unit (IGU) for use in the glazing and building industry, the IGU having: a) a plurality of spaced apart glazed panes defining a gap therebetween;

b) a non-adhesive seal (as hereinbefore defined) positioned between and near to the marginal edges of the facing surfaces of the glazed panes so as to provide hermetic sealing of the gap between the glazed panes from the outside atmosphere; and

c) a holding means positionable on and along the periphery of the glazed panes, the holding means having support means that are configured, shaped and adapted to support the glazed panes and to hold and maintain the glazed panes and the seal together in order to create a sandwich seal that hermetically seals the gap and that compensates for the movement of the glazed panes resulting from climatic conditions such as thermal expansion and wind without affecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal.

Claim 2: An insulated glazing unit (IGU) for use in the glazing and building industry, the IGU having a plurality of spaced apart glazed panes defining a sealable gap between the glazed panes where the gap is adapted to be hermetically sealed from the atmosphere by a non-adhesive seal (as hereinbefore defined) situated on and near to the periphery internal edges of the glazed panes, wherein the said seal is not bonded or fixed to the surfaces of the glazed panes, the glazed panes are held together by a holding means positioned on and around the periphery of the glazed panes, the holding means having support means that are configured, shaped and adapted to support the glazed panes and to hold and retain the glazed panes and the seal together to provide a sandwich seal that creates and maintains the hermetic sealing of the gap and that allows for the compensation of the movement of the glazed panes resulting from climatic conditions such as thermal expansion and wind without effecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal.

Claim 3: The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 2, wherein the non-adhesive seal is a compression seal.

Claim 4: The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the non-adhesive seal is a laminated seal. Claim 5 : The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the holding means includes a clip that holds and retains the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship.

Claim 6: The IGU as claimed in claim 5 where the clip is able to satisfactorily resist with minimum displacement the forces applied to it via the glazed panes a set distance apart such that the internal forces inherent in said seal causes the sealing faces of said seal against the glazed panes which in turn are forced against the clip which prevents the glass panes from moving outwards.

Claim 7: The IGU as claimed in claim 5, wherein the clip is a spring clip that holds and retains the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship under the action of the spring bias of the spring clip.

Claim 8; The IGU as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the holding means includes a setting block that assists in holding and retaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship.

Claim 9: The IGU as claimed in claim 8, wherein the setting block and the spring clip (as claimed in claim 7) include the said support means, the support means have co-operating and corresponding inclined surfaces, the inclined surfaces have an angle of inclination that allows the glazed panes to slide along the inclined surfaces so that a force is applied and maintained to the glazed panes so as to hold and retain the glazed panels spaced apart without effecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal.

Claim 10: The IGU as claimed in claim 9, wherein the angle of inclination of the inclined surfaces causes the glazed panes to push in a direction toward each other whilst maintaining the glazed panels spaced apart without affecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal.

Claim 1 1 : The IGU as claimed in claim 10, wherein the angle of inclination of the inclined surfaces is such that it allows the glazed panes to move along the inclined surfaces towards and away from each other whilst maintaining the glazed panels spaced apart without affecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal.

Claim 12: The IGU as claimed in claim 1 1, wherein the angle of inclination of the inclined surfaces is such that the combination of the forces on the spring clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surface of the spring clip which in conjunction with the spring clip applies an inward force to the glazed panes in the direction toward the centre of the IGU, the inward force is countered by an opposing friction force that is less than the inward force such that the total force applied to the IGU is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion.

Claim 13 : The IGU as claimed in claim 12, wherein the setting block is a Vee shaped wedge where the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge are at an angle so that the glazed panes slide, relative to the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge, in a direction toward the centre of the IGU so the glazed panes are always pressed toward each other irrespective of the climatic conditions such as wind and thermal expansion.

Claim 14: The IGU as claimed in claim 13, wherein the setting block has retaining features that co-operatively and engageably interact with the spring clip so that setting block can be retained to the spring clip and does not fall out of the spring clip during handling and transportation of the IGU.

Claim 15: The IGU as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the seal is of a resilient material.

Claim 16: The IGU as claimed in claim 15, wherein the seal has low water vapour permeability properties.

Claim 17: The IGU as claimed in claim 15, wherein the seal includes stiffening properties so that when the glazed panes are pressed together onto the sealing faces of said seal the stiffening properties of the seal prevents the seal from buckling or collapsing or compressing excessively.

Claim 18: The IGU as claimed in claim 4, wherein the laminated seal is made from multi- layered strip material such that the faces of all parts of the laminated elements of the seal are able to slide as the seal moves with expanding and contracting glass due to thermal or flexure effects.

Claim 19: The IGU as claimed in claim 9, wherein the spring clip has a concertina shape so that the spring clip allows the inclusion of length in the spring material so as to allow for the adjustment of the stiffness of the spring clip.

Claim 20: The IGU as claimed in claim 19, wherein the concertina shaped spring clip includes ridges, troughs and upwardly extending side external edges, the bottom portion of the trough adjacent to the upwardly extending side external edges includes an area that defines the inclined surfaces of the spring clip, the inclined surfaces have a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined toward the side external edges, each trough is adapted to accommodate and retain therein an edge portion of a respective glazed pane, the inclined surfaces are adapted to co-operate with and slide along corresponding inclined surfaces on the setting block, the inward facing surface of the upwardly extending side external edges are adapted to contact and press against the outer surface of the glazed panes as to hold and retain the glazed panes in position.

Claim 21 : The 1GU as claimed in claim 20, wherein the spring clip is made from stainless steel.

Claim 22: The IGU as claimed in claim 21 , wherein the troughs with the inclined surfaces have a cushion material to cushion the edges of the glazed panes so that there is no generation of high contact point stress that might otherwise be generated at the contact points if the glazed edges rested directly on the stainless-steel spring clip.

Claim 23 : The IGU as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein a desiccant is situated within the sealed gap between the glazed panes.

Claim 24: The IGU as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein one of the outer facing glazed panes has a hole in the glazed pane in to which a hermetically sealed adaptor is situated, the said adaptor has a hole therein to allow fluid communication therethrough, the adaptor is connected to a replaceable desiccating pump so that the desiccating pump allows for the removal of water vapour or water droplets from within the sealed gap between the panes of glass to maintain and ensure visual clarity of the IGU.

Claim 25: An insulated glazing unit (IGU) for use in the glazing and building industry, the IGU having: a) a plurality of spaced apart glazed panes defining a gap therebetween;

b) a laminated compression non-adhesive seal (as hereinbefore defined) positioned between and adjacent to the marginal edges of the facing surfaces of the glazed panes so as to provide hermetic sealing of the gap between the glazed panes from the outside atmosphere; and

c) a holding means positionable on and around the periphery of the glazed panes, the holding means having:

i. a spring clip for holding and maintaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship, where the spring bias of the spring clip applies a force to the glazed panes such that glazed panes are pressed in a direction toward the centre of the IGU, the spring clip includes spaced apart inclined surfaces, each inclined surface having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU and where the upper surface of each inclined surface is adapted to accommodate and support thereon an edge portion of a respective glazed pane; and

ii. a setting block for accommodating and supporting the spring clip; the setting block having spaced apart inclined surfaces that co-operate and correspond with the spring clips inclined surfaces, each of the setting block inclined surfaces having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU, the upper surface of each setting block's inclined surface slidingly engages with a corresponding lower surface of a spring clip's inclined surface such that the spring clip, relative to the setting block, is able to slide in a direction along the flat extent of the inclined surfaces,

wherein, the combination of the forces on the spring clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surfaces of the spring clip which in conjunction with the bias of the spring clip applies an inward force to the glazed panes to slide the spring clip in the direction toward the centre of the IGU and whereby the sliding action of the spring clip relative to the setting block creates and applies an opposing friction force that counters the inward force, the opposing force is less than the inward force such that a total force component (= inward force - friction force) is applied to the IGU and is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion.

Claim 26: An insulated glazing unit (IGU) for use in the glazing and building industry, the IGU having: a) a plurality of spaced apart glazed panes defining a gap therebetween;

b) a non-adhesive seal (as hereinbefore defined) positioned between and adjacent the marginal edges of the facing surfaces of the glazed panes so as to provide hermetic sealing of the gap between the glazed panes from the outside atmosphere; and

c) a holding means positionable on and around the periphery of the glazed panes, the holding means having:

i. a clip for holding and maintaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart

relationship, the clip includes spaced apart inclined surfaces, each inclined surface having a flat extent parallel to the edges of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU and where the upper surface of each inclined surface is adapted to accommodate and support thereon an edge portion of a respective glazed pane; and

ii. a setting block for accommodating and supporting the clip; the setting block having spaced apart inclined surfaces that co-operate and correspond with the inclined surfaces of the clip, each of the setting block inclined surfaces having a flat extent that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU, the upper surface of each setting block inclined surface slidingly engages with a corresponding lower surface of a clip's inclined surface such that the clip, relative to the setting block, is able to slide in a direction along the flat extent of the inclined surfaces, wherein, the combination of the forces on the clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surfaces of the clip which applies an inward force to the glazed panes to slide the clip in the direction toward the centre of the IGU and whereby the sliding action of the clip relative to the setting block creates and applies an opposing friction force that counters the inward force, the opposing force is less than the inward force such that a total force component (= inward force - friction force) is applied to the IGU and is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion.

Claim 27: The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 25 to 26, wherein the inclined surfaces of the setting block and the clip have an angle of inclination that results in the total force component having a magnitude that allows the inward force to have sufficient strength to push the panes in a direction toward the centre of the IGU which therefore overcomes the friction force which might be resisting movement of the panes in a direction towards the centre of the IGU when compensating for climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion whilst maintaining the sealing integrity of the IGU.

Claim 28: The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 25 to 27, wherein the setting block is a Vee shaped wedge where the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge are at an angle so that the glazed panes slide, relative to the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge, in a direction toward the centre of the IGU so the glazed panes are always pressed toward each other irrespective of the climatic conditions such as wind and thermal expansion. Claim 29: The IGU as claimed in claim 28, wherein the setting block has retaining features that co-operatively and engageably interact with the spring clip so that setting block can be retained by the spring clip and does not fall out of the spring clip during handling and transportation of the IGU.

Claim 30: The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 25 to 26, wherein the seal is of a resilient material.

Claim 31 : The IGU as claimed in claim 30, wherein the seal has low water vapour permeability properties.

Claim 32: The IGU as claimed in claim 30, wherein the seal includes stiffening properties so that the when the glazed panes are pressed together onto the sealing faces of said seal the stiffening properties of the seal prevent the seal from buckling or collapsing or compressing excessively.

Claim 33: The IGU as claimed in claim 26, wherein the seal is a compression seal.

Claim 34: The IGU as claimed in claim 26, wherein the seal is a laminated seal.

Claim 35: The IGU as claimed in claim 26 wherein the seal is a laminated compression seal.

Claim 36: The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 25, 33 to 35, wherein the laminated seal is made from multi-layered strip material such that the faces of all the laminated elements of the seal are able to slide as the seal moves with the expanding and contracting of the glazed panes due to thermal or flexure effects.

Claim 37: The IGU as claimed in claim 25, wherein the spring clip has a concertina shape so that the inclusion of length in the spring material allows for the adjustment of the stiffness of the spring clip.

Claim 38: The IGU as claimed in claim 37, wherein the concertina shaped spring clip includes ridges, troughs and upwardly extending side external edges, the bottom portion of the trough adjacent to the upwardly extending side external edges include an area that defines the inclined surfaces of the spring clip, the inclined surfaces have a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined toward the side external edges, each trough is adapted to

accommodate and retain therein an edge portion of a respective glazed pane, the inclined surfaces are adapted to co-operate with and slide along corresponding inclined surfaces on the setting block, the inward facing surface of the upwardly extending side external edges are adapted to contact and press against the outer surface of the glazed panes as to hold and retain the glazed panes in position.

Claim 39: The IGU as claimed in claim 38, wherein the spring clip is made from stainless steel. Claim 40: The IGU as claimed in claim 39, wherein the troughs with the inclined surfaces have cushion material to cushion the edges of the glazed panes so that there is no generation of high contact point stress that might otherwise be generated at the contact points if the glazed edges rested directly on the stainless steel spring clip.

Claim 41 : The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 25 to 40, wherein a desiccant is situated within the sealed gap between the glazed panes.

Claim 42: The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 25 to 40, wherein one of the outer facing glazed panes has a hole in the glazed pane in to which a hermetically sealed adaptor is situated, the said adaptor has a hole therein to allow fluid communication therethrough, the adaptor is connected to a replaceable desiccating pump so that the desiccating pump allows for the removal of water vapour or water droplets from within the sealed gap to maintain and ensure visual clarity of the IGU.

Claim 43 : A holding means positionable on and around the periphery of glazed panes of an insulated glazing unit (IGU) in order to hold and maintain the glazed panes spaced apart while also sealing the gap between the glazed panes, the holding means having: a) a spring clip for holding and maintaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship, where the spring bias of the spring clip applies a force to the glazed panes such that glazed panes are pressed in a direction toward the centre of the IGU, the spring clip includes spaced apart inclined surfaces, each inclined surface having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU and where the upper surface of each inclined surface is adapted to accommodate and support thereon an edge portion of a respective glazed pane; and

b) a setting block for accommodating and supporting the spring clip; the setting block having spaced apart inclined surfaces that co-operate and correspond with the spring clip's inclined surfaces, each of the setting block's inclined surfaces having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU, the upper surface of each setting block's inclined surface slidingly engages with a corresponding lower surface of a spring clip's inclined surface such that the spring clip, relative to the setting block, is able to slide in a direction along the flat extent of the inclined surfaces, wherein, the combination of the forces on the spring clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surfaces of the spring clip which in conjunction with the bias of the spring clip applies an inward force to the glazed panes to slide the spring clip in the direction toward the centre of the IGU and whereby the sliding action of the spring clip relative setting block creates and applies an opposing friction force that counters the inward force, the opposing force is less than the inward force such that a total force component (= inward force - friction force) is applied to the IGU and is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion.

Claim 44: A holding means positionable on and along the periphery of glazed panes of an insulated glazing unit (IGU) in order to hold and maintain the glazed panes spaced apart while also sealing the gap between the glazed panes, the holding means having: a) a clip for holding and maintaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship, the clip includes spaced apart inclined surfaces, each inclined surface having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU and where the upper surface of each inclined surface is adapted to accommodate and support thereon an edge portion of a respective glazed pane; and

b) a setting block for accommodating and supporting the clip; the setting block having spaced apart inclined surfaces that co-operate and correspond with the inclined surfaces of the clip, each of the setting block inclined surfaces having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU, the upper surface of each setting block inclined surface slidingly engages with a corresponding lower surface of a clip's inclined surface such that the clip, relative to the setting block, is able to slide in a direction along the flat extent of the inclined surfaces, wherein, the combination of the forces on the clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surfaces of the clip which applies an inward force to the glazed panes to slide the clip in the direction toward the centre of the IGU and whereby the sliding action of the clip relative to the setting block creates and applies an opposing friction force that counters the inward force, the opposing force is less than the inward force such that a total force component (= inward force - friction force) is applied to the IGU and is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion. Claim 45: The holding means as claimed in any one of claims 43 to 44, wherein the inclined surfaces of the setting block and the clip have an angle of inclination that results in the total force component having a magnitude that allows the inward force to have sufficient strength to push the panes in a direction toward the centre of the IGU which therefore overcomes the friction force which might be resisting movement of the panes in a direction towards the centre of the IGU when compensating for climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion whilst maintaining the sealing integrity of the IGU.

Claim 46: The holding means as claimed in any one of claims 43 to 45, wherein the setting block is a Vee shaped wedge where the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge are at an angle so that the glazed panes slide, relative to the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge, in a direction toward the centre of the IGU so the glazed panes are always pressed toward each other irrespective of the climatic conditions such as wind and thermal expansion.

Claim 48: The holding means as claimed in claim 47, wherein the setting block has retaining features that co-operatively and engageably interact with the spring clip so that setting block can be retained to the spring clip and does not fall out of the spring clip during handling and transportation of the IGU.

Claim 49: The holding means as claimed in claim 43, wherein the spring clip has a concertina shape so that the inclusion of length in the spring material allows for the adjustment of the stiffness of the spring clip.

Claim 50: The holding means as claimed in claim 49, wherein the concertina shaped spring clip includes ridges, troughs and upwardly extending side external edges, the bottom portion of the trough adjacent to the upwardly extending side external edges includes an area that defines the inclined surfaces of the spring clip, the inclined surfaces have a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined toward the side external edges, each trough is adapted to accommodate and retain therein an edge portion of a respective glazed pane, the inclined surfaces are adapted to co-operate with and slide along corresponding inclined surfaces on the setting block, the inward facing surface of the upwardly extending side external edges are adapted to contact and press against the outer surface of the glazed panes as to hold and retain the glazed panes in position.

Claim 51 : The holding means as claimed in claim 50, wherein the spring clip is made from stainless steel. Claim 52: The holding means as claimed in claim 50, wherein the troughs with the inclined surfaces have cushion material to cushion the edges of the glazed panes so that there is no generation of high contact point stress that might otherwise be generated at the contact points if the glazed edges rested directly on the stainless-steel spring clip.

Claim 53 : The holding means as claimed in any one of claims 43 to 52, wherein the force applied to the inclined surfaces of clips positioned along the horizontal bottom edge of the IGU is a downward force as a result of the weight of the glazed panes.

Claim 54: The holding means as claimed in any one of claims 43 to 53, wherein the force applied to the inclined surfaces of clips positioned along the vertical sides edges and along the horizontal top edge of the IGU is as a result of the IGU mounted in a tight fit within a window frame such that the setting blocks contacting the internal surface of the window frame are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU so that clips push on the glazed panes glass so that the glazed panes are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU.

Claim 55: The holding means as claimed in claim 54, wherein a resilient spacer is positioned between the setting blocks and the window frame so that the setting blocks are urged against the glazed panes so that the glazed panes are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU.

Claim 56: The holding means as claimed in claim 55, the resilient spacer is a partially compressed foam pad, a compressible rubber pad, a spring or a biasing means.

Claim 57: The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 25 to 42, wherein the force applied to the inclined surfaces of clips positioned along the horizontal bottom edge of the IGU is a downward force as a result of the weight of the glazed panes.

Claim 58: The IGU as claimed in any one of claims 25 to 42, wherein the force applied to the inclined surfaces of clips positioned along the vertical sides edges and along the horizontal top edge of the IGU is as a result of the IGU mounted in a tight fit within a window frame such that the setting blocks contacting the internal surface of the window frame are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU so that the clips push on the glazed panes glass so that the glazed panes are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU.

Claim 59: The IGU as claimed in claim 58, wherein a resilient spacer is positioned between the setting blocks and the window frame so that the setting blocks are urged against the clips which push on the glazed panes glass so that the glazed panes are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU. Claim 60: The IGU as claimed in claim 59, wherein the resilient spacer is a partially compressed foam pad, a compressible rubber pad, a spring or a biasing means.

Claim 61 : The IGU as claimed in claim 27, wherein the angle of inclination between the inclined surface and the setting block base surface has to be an angle that exceeds the arctangent of the coefficient of friction between the two materials of the clip and setting block in contact at the sliding and inclined faces of the inclined surfaces in order to ensure that the forces on the setting block overcome the natural friction forces occurring between the contacting surfaces of the spring clip and the setting block and so tend to slide the glass panes along the inclined surfaces toward the centre of the IGU.

Claim 62: The IGU as claimed in claim 61 where the angle of inclination between the inclined surface and the setting block base surface is set at greater than or equal to arctangent of the coefficient of friction.

Claim 63: The IGU as claimed in claim 62 where the angle of inclination between the inclined surface and the setting block base surface is approximately 15°.

Claim 64: The holding means as claimed in claim 45, wherein the angle of inclination between the inclined surface and the setting block base surface has to be at an angle that exceeds the arctangent of the coefficient of friction between the two materials of the clip and setting block in contact at the sliding and inclined faces of the inclined surfaces in order to ensure the glazed panes slide along the inclined surfaces toward the centre of the IGU.

Claim 65: The holding means as claimed in claim 64 where the angle of inclination between the inclined surface and the setting block base surface is set at greater than or equal to arctangent of the coefficient of friction between the two materials of the clip and setting block.

Claim 66: The holding means as claimed in claim 65 where the angle of inclination between the inclined surface and the setting block base surface is approximately 1 °.

Description:
INSULATED GLAZING UNIT

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to insulated glazing units for use in the glazing and building industry where multi-glazed (e.g. double or triple glazed) windows are manufactured and installed in buildings to limit heat transmission through the window unit and to reduce the passage of noise while providing otherwise mainly unimpaired transmission of light.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

A problem with existing insulated glazing units (IGUs) is that over time the IGUs can fail which allows moisture to enter into the gap between the glass panes of the IGUs and causes the IGUs to fog up and lessen the effectiveness of the IGUs.

The purpose of IGUs is to create windows that limit heat transmission, reduce noise and provide unimpaired transmission of light. Generally, IGUs consist of parallel glass panes of similar size that are separated from each other to create a sealed and insulated "air gap" between them to allow for the admission of light and at the same time reduce the heat and sound transfer through the glass panes, compared to a single pane window of similar size.

It is common for a building to be glazed with "double glazing" whereby two similarly sized sheets of glass are arranged parallel to and a small distance from each other to form an insulating double-glazed window (however, other multi-glazing with multiple panes of glass, such as triple glazing, is also widely used). These glass sheets which make up a multiple- pane glass window are usually held apart from each other by some rigid (or semi-rigid) strip- type spacing means along with an encapsulating sealing means, the latter of which bonds by adhesion to the glass panes around their edges. The spacing means and spacer-encapsulating sealing means together create an "air" or gas pocket between the panes of glass, completely encapsulating the air or gas trapped in the space between the panes. The spacing means and sealing means usually create a "hermetic" gas, water and water-vapour-proof seal around the entire outer edge of the multiple pane glazing arrangement (the window) with the intention of preventing water and water vapour from entering the cavity between the panes of glass. Water vapour in the inter-pane gas space can condense out of the entrapped gas onto the faces of the glass that create the gas space in which it is present in the cavity if it is in a great enough concentration. This causes the window unit to fog or mist up thus ruining the view through the window. Because the fogging takes place between the inaccessibly sealed panes of glass the condensed water (fog) cannot be wiped away to clear the window and restore complete transparency of the unit. Water vapour in the gas will also have a detrimental effect on the insulation rating of the window unit, so it is necessary to keep the gas between the glass panes as "dry" as is possible, that is almost devoid of water vapour.

It is therefore common for the rigid (or semi-rigid) spacing means to have a water and water vapour capturing desiccant added to it (prior to assembly of the double glazed unit) and this desiccant is contained within the spacer's tubular or extruded semi-rigid form so that if the gas trapped between the glass panels should contain water, or water vapour, then the desiccant material contained in the spacing means can come into direct contact with the gas and water vapour in the sealed cavity, and adsorb or absorb the water or water vapour. Thus, as long as the desiccant has the capacity to capture water or water vapour and keep the gas "dry" then the chances of the window fogging-up are almost eliminated.

It is an intention of current designs to create an hermetic seal which admits no further water vapour (into the space between the panes which contains the gas) other than that water vapour which may have been present in the gas cavity at the time of assembly of the window unit or that water vapour that may very slowly, and in tiny quantities, pass through the molecules of the sealing material.. The desiccant in the spacer bar is provided to simply absorb moisture that is in the gas at the time of assembling the window unit and the tiny amounts of water vapour that might permeate through the seal material itself. The sealing means is always around the outer edge of - and yet also between - the panes of glass while the spacing means with desiccant is fitted further within the confines of the sealant strip and glass pane edges. However, it is common for the adhesive bond between the sealing means and the separated sheets of glass to fail so that water vapour can enter the sealed cavity via the failed bond zone. When this happens, much of the water vapour is quickly adsorbed or absorbed by the desiccant contained in the spacing means fitted between the glass panes. But after a period, the desiccant between the glass panes becomes "saturated", that is, unable to "take up" or capture any more water vapour so that any further water vapour that enters the cavity between the panes of glass via the failed sealant is not captured by the desiccant and is now able to condense on the glass when conditions are right, and so cause the glass window to fog-up. If the failure of the bond between the sealing means and the glass panes resulted in only microscopic amounts of water vapour entering the window over time, it may be possible to apply a desiccating "pump" to the window and so continuously or intermittently remove the water vapour faster than it enters the sealed space. However, the failure of the bond between the glass and the sealant of double glazing units advances rather quickly after it has started so that seal failure is usually catastrophic and water vapour ingress is almost unrestricted. Hence any form of desiccating pump would need to work continuously or be recharged at short intervals and at costs that the owner would soon object to. The failure of adhesively sealed double glazed window units in the aforementioned manner is documented to be at any interval from perhaps 5 years through to 40 years with the mean time to failure being around 15 years in New Zealand. Whatever the interval between manufacture and failure, double glazed window seals a have a life shorter than that of the building they are installed in and certainly many times shorter than the life span of the glass. Because this water/water vapour infiltration into the sealed gas cavity of the double-glazed window will happen, one day, then the window's clarity will be greatly impaired. The only remedy for an improved view and restored insulation value is to entirely replace the double pane glazed window with a new one. While it would be theoretically possible to renew the failed adhesive seal (by cutting it out and cleaning it off the glass to which it had adhered or bonded, and then replacing the adhesive sealant, along with a new desiccant filled spacer bar) this would be an expensive and inconvenient exercise for the building owner. This is because current designs of insulated glazing units are based on using adhesive seals which form a permanent, high strength bond to the glass, and the adhesive-sealant traces are very difficult to completely remove from the glass. Even though the adhesive could be largely removed from the glass during refurbishment of the window so as to re-use the glass, the glass pores will have become impregnated with the old adhesive sealant and traces will always remain to contaminate the glass surface and so prevent a new coating of sealant from creating the desired continuous seal bond between adhesive and glass. Therefore, it is common to throw away a complete - but "failed" - double glazing unit because of nothing more than a small leak between the atmosphere and its sealed gas cavity somewhere around its periphery. Currently, double glazed window units are usually set into a rebated joinery frame and the bottom edge of the glazing unit is "set down on" (that is, rests upon) a "softish" setting block. This device forms a cushion between the edges of the glass panes and the window frame and it primarily distributes the forces required to carry the weight of the glazing unit more evenly over the glazed unit's bottom edges. If the lower edge of a sheet of glass rests on a hard surface, the glass will probably only make contact with the hard surface on which it rests at one or two points along its bottom edge. These points of contact will carry the entire weight of the unit and the glass will experience very high local stress at the points of contact. The brittle nature of glass in conjunction with the high stresses generated at these points of contact on the glass may later lead to cracks going all the way across one or both glass panes. This high stress, point contact situation is avoided when the glass is set on to (rests on) a cushion of high density polyethylene, for example, situated between the glass and window joinery frame. The forces on the glass due to its own weight are better distributed over the edges of the glass by having the cushioning effect of the softer setting block between edges of the panes and the joinery frame. However, the weight force of the glass on to the surface of the setting block usually creates a small trench in the setting block into which the glass sinks. This is caused by the softer setting block deforming under the hard glass's weight force. Now, the two panes of glass may be held relatively rigidly together against the spacer bar by sealant adhesive force, but the edges of the glass panes may still move apart or closer together by small distances as a consequence of thermal expansion of the spacer, vibration and wind flexure. There are large forces available to separate the glass panes but usually only the tensile forces in the sealant are available to pull the panes back together. If the glass has been sitting in its "trench" in the setting block and the glass panes move apart (and stretch the sealant as they do so) then the large thermal or mechanical forces available can easily push the glass outwards against the three resisting forces, namely: friction between the glass and the setting block, the sealant's tendency to pull the glass inwards and thirdly against the glass's need to deform the trench as it moves. When the glass wishes to return to its original separation distance, only the tensile force of the stretched adhesive sealant is usually available to assist its return to the original position, again against the force needed to deform the trench back to its original spot, and also against the friction between the glass and the setting block. The added tension in the sealant during this pulling phase raises the stresses in the bond zone between the glass and the adhesive sealant. This action probably raises the likelihood of local bond failure between glass and sealant which allows water vapour * to begin its infiltration into the sealed gas cavity. These tiny but significant displacements of the glass occur probably millions of times during the life span of the IGU.

It should be noted further, that the physical width of the spacers used to separate the glass panes in the present style of glazed window unit must be maintained to within close tolerances so as to not generate unwanted gaps between glass and spacer especially at corners. However spacers, usually of a rectangualr cross-section, cannot be bent to go around a corner of the panes without increasing their width at the inside corner of the bend and decreasing it at the outside corner of the bend. Hence some adjustment must be made to correct this altered width dimension caused by bending the spacer to form a corner to suit the window shape. Tt is easily observed, when a square piece of rubber is bent sharply to form a corner, that the width of the rubber at the bend is no longer the same as for the unbent sections on each side of the bend. Present double glazing unit construction methods mean that this width change must be adjusted in a separate (but often automated) operation during the assembly of the unit.

The principle of an externally attached desiccating cansister fitted to a double glazed window unit, to extract water vapour from the sealed gas cavity in the glazing unit is described in GB Patent 2 209 365 A - dated 1987. This publication describes a canister containing desiccant attached to a glazing unit which is used to dehydrate the air within the hermetically sealed gas cavity between the panes of glass of a double glazed window unit.

The use of a spring force to press the panes of glass of a double glazed window unit against a resilient seal sandwiched between them is shown in US Patent 2 974 377 dated 1961, however it will be noted that in this patent application, the sealing strip 22 is still designed to adhere to the glass panes and the spacer element (Column 1 Line 21 : Column 1 Line 38; Column 1 Line 54; Col 9 Line 40; Col 9 Line 73; Col 10 Line 5). Certainly current practice is still to use an adhesive sealant which bonds to glass (as it cures from a viscous state to a resilient state) so as to seal the gas-tight cavity while maintaining the panes of glass, the seal and the spacer all together in their desired arrangement.

In summary, current insulated glazing units ("double glazing") attempt to make use of an adhesive sealant and a desiccant containing spacer bar to both bond together and space the glass panes that make up a double glazed window unit while creating a hermetic, leak-proof seal, with a quantity of desiccant held within the gas cavity, usually within the spacer bar. When the sealing means of this unit fails (as it commonly does) the entire glazing unit is thrown away and a completely new unit must be installed.

There is no economic and reliable method by which the seal may be renewed or the desiccant replaced with "fresh" desiccant.

PRIOR REFERENCES

All references, including any patents or patent applications cited in this specification, are hereby incorporated by reference. No admission is made that any reference constitutes prior art. The discussion of the references states what their authors assert, and the applicants reserve the right to challenge the accuracy and pertinence of the cited documents. It will be clearly understood that, although a number of prior art publications may be referred to herein; this reference does not constitute an admission that any of these documents form part of the common general knowledge in the art, in New Zealand or in any other country.

DEFINITIONS It is aclcnowledged that the term 'comprise' may, under varying jurisdictions, be attributed with either an exclusive or an inclusive meaning. For the purpose of this specification, and unless otherwise noted, the term 'comprise' shall have an inclusive meaning - i.e. that it will be taken to mean an inclusion of not only the listed components it directly references but also other non-specified components or elements. This rationale will also be used when the term 'comprised' or 'comprising' is used in relation to one or more steps in a method or process.

Throughout this application, please read the phrase "double glazing" or "double glazed" as also meaning triple or multi-pane glazing with spaced apart and the parallel panes of glass.

Throughout this application, please read the phrase "dry gas" as meaning a gas with very little or no water vapour content. Throughout this application, please read the meaning of the term "gas" to refer to any of the gases typically found in double-glazed windows such as water vapour, air, nitrogen, argon and so on. Throughout this application, please read the words "pump or pumping" to mean a device or process where water vapour is withdrawn (e.g. sucked out of or pumped) from being infused within another gas and ejected later into the atmosphere outside of the sealed 1GU.

Throughout this application, please read the words "absorb" and "adsorb" to mean the "capture of and retention" of water vapour.

Throughout this application, please read the words "glazing unit", "double-glazed window", "insulated glazing unit" and "IGU" to all mean the same thing, that is, a window consisting of two or more panes of glass arranged parallel to each other and spaced a set distance apart by means of a seal and spacer of some sort which is situated around the perimeter of the glass panes and that is supposed to entrap gas between the panes while at the same time severely restrict the admission of water vapour to the sealed cavity between the glass panes.

Throughout this application, please read the word "hermetic" as meaning "almost" total impermeability to gas and water vapour of the materials used to create the sealed gas cavity between the panes of glass and at the interface between the glass and the sealing means. It is to be understood that a "hermetic" seal may still allow the passage of minute amounts of water vapour to pass very slowly through the molecules of the material from which the seal is made.

Throughout this application, please read the word "bond" as meaning where two substances, such as glass and sealant, chemically or physically link together to form a bond which cannot be broken except by mechanical or chemical means after which the two substances that were bonded leave traces of themselves still firmly attached to one another.

Throughout this application, please read the word "stiffness" when discussing the attributes of springs, spring forces and spring displacements to mean the ratio between the spring force and the displacement of the spring when that force is applied to the spring. Throughout this application, please read the words "non-adhesive seal" or "laminated non- adhesive seal" or "compression non-adhesive seal" or "laminated compression non-adhesive seal" as meaning a seal that does not utilise an adhesive or bonding agent in order create or assist in the sealing action of the seal or in order to adhere or fix or maintain the seal in position on the surface or surfaces to which the seal is positioned on. A "non-adhesive seal" is a seal that does not require a bonding adhesive or bonding agent in order to achieve the sealing action of the seal or in adhering, fixing or maintaining the seal to a surface.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide an insulated glazing unit that ameliorates some of the disadvantages and limitations of the laiown art or at least provides the public with a useful choice.

It is a further object of the invention to provide an insulated glazing unit that provides an acceptable level of insulation which reduces heat transmission to or from a building and which also reduces sound transmission into and out a building but which has an improved longevity as compared to those insulated glazing units manufactured according to current practice or at least provides the public with a useful choice.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

In a first aspect, the invention resides in an insulated glazing unit (IGU) for use in the glazing and building industry, the IGU having: a) a plurality of spaced apart glazed panes defining a gap therebetween; b) a non-adhesive seal (as hereinbefore defined) positioned between and near to the marginal edges of the facing surfaces of the glazed panes so as to provide hermetic sealing of the gap between the glazed panes from the outside atmosphere; and c) a holding means positionable on and around the periphery of the glazed panes, the holding means having support means that are configured, shaped and adapted to support the glazed panes and to hold and maintain the glazed panes and the seal together in order to create a sandwich seal that hermetically seals the gap and that compensates for the movement of the glazed panes resulting from climatic conditions such as thermal expansion and wind without affecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal. In a second aspect, the invention resides in an insulated glazing unit (1GU) for use in the glazing and building industry, the IGU having a plurality of spaced apart glazed panes defining a sealable gap between the glazed panes where the gap is adapted to be hermetically sealed from the atmosphere by a non-adhesive seal (as hereinbefore defined) situated on and near to the periphery internal edges of the glazed panes, wherein the said seal is not bonded or fixed to the surfaces of the glazed panes, the glazed panes are held together by a holding means positioned on and around the periphery of the glazed panes, the holding means having support means that are configured, shaped and adapted to support the glazed panes and to hold and retain the glazed panes and the seal together to provide a sandwich seal that creates and maintains the hermetic sealing of the gap and that allows for the compensation of the movement of the glazed panes resulting from climatic conditions such as thermal expansion and wind without effecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal.

Preferably, the non-adhesive seal is a compression seal.

Preferably, the non-adhesive seal is a laminated seal. Preferably, the holding means includes a clip that holds and retains the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship.

Preferably, the clip is able to satisfactorily resist with minimum displacement the forces applied to it via the glazed panes such that the clip only maintains the glazed panes a set distance apart such that the internal forces inherent in said seal causes the sealing faces of said seal to press against the glazed panes which in turn are forced against the clip which prevents the glass panes from moving outwards.

Preferably, the clip is a spring clip that holds and retains the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship under the action of the spring bias of the spring clip.

Preferably, the holding means includes a setting block that assists in holding and retaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship.

Preferably, the setting block and the spring clip include the said support means, the support means have co-operating and corresponding inclined surfaces, the inclined surfaces have an angle of inclination that allows the glazed panes to slide along the inclined surfaces so that a force is applied and maintained on the glazed panes so as to hold and retain the glazed panes spaced apart without affecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal.

Preferably, the angle of inclination of the inclined surfaces causes the glazed panes to push in a direction toward each other whilst maintaining the glazed panes spaced apart without affecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal.

Preferably, the angle of inclination of the inclined surfaces is such that it allows the glazed panes to move along the inclined surfaces towards and away from each other whilst maintaining the glazed panels spaced apart without affecting the integrity of the sealing action of the sandwich seal. Preferably, the angle of inclination of the inclined surfaces is such that the combination of forces on the spring clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surface of the spring clip which in conjunction with the spring clip applies an inward force to the glazed panes in the direction toward the centre of the IGU, the inward force is countered by an opposing friction force that is less than the inward force such that the total force applied to the IGU is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion.

Preferably, the setting block is a Vee shaped wedge where the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge are at an angle so that the glazed panes slide, relative to the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge, in a direction toward the centre of the IGU so the glazed panes are always pressed toward each other irrespective of the climatic conditions such as wind and thermal expansion.

Preferably, the setting block has retaining features that co-operatively and engageably interact with the spring clip so that setting block can be retained to the spring clip and does not fall out of the spring clip during handling and transportation of the IGU.

Preferably, the seal is of a resilient material.

Preferably, the seal has low water vapour permeability properties. Preferably, the seal includes stiffening properties so that when the glazed panes are pressed together onto the sealing faces of said seal the stiffening properties of the seal prevents the seal from buckling or collapsing or compressing excessively.

Preferably, the laminated seal is made from multi-layered strip material such that the laminated elements of the seal are able to slide as the seal moves with expanding and contracting glass due to thermal or flexure effects.

Preferably, the spring clip has a concertina shape so that the spring clip allows the inclusion of length in the spring material so as to allow for the adjustment of the stiffness of the spring clip. Preferably, the concertina shaped spring clip includes ridges, troughs and upwardly extending side external edges, the bottom portion of the trough adjacent to the upwardly extending side external edges includes an area that defines the inclined surfaces of the spring clip, the inclined surfaces have a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined toward the side external edges, each trough is adapted to accommodate and retain therein an edge portion of a respective glazed pane, the inclined surfaces are adapted to co-operate with and slide along corresponding inclined surfaces on the setting block, the inward facing surface of the upwardly extending side external edges are adapted to contact and press against the outer surface of the glazed panes so as to hold and retain the glazed panes in position. Preferably, the spring clip is made from stainless steel.

Preferably, the troughs with the inclined surfaces have a cushion material within them to cushion the edges of the glazed panes so that there is no generation of high contact point stress that might otherwise be generated at the contact points if the glazed edges rested directly on the stainless steel spring clip. Preferably, a desiccant is situated within the sealed gap between the glazed panes.

Preferably, one of the outer facing glazed panes has a hole in the glazed pane in to which a hermetically sealed adaptor is situated, the said adaptor has a hole therein to allow fluid communication therethrough, the adaptor is connected to a replaceable desiccating pump so that the desiccating pump allows for the removal of water vapour or water droplets from within the sealed gap between the panes of glass to maintain and ensure visual clarity of the IGU.

In a third aspect, the invention resides in an insulated glazing unit (IGU) for use in the glazing and building industry, the IGU having: a) a plurality of spaced apart glazed panes defining a gap there between; b) a laminated compression non-adhesive seal (as hereinbefore defined) positioned between and near to the marginal edges of the facing surfaces of the glazed panes so as to provide hermetic sealing of the gap between the glazed panes from the outside atmosphere; and c) a holding means positionable on and along the periphery of the glazed panes, the holding means having: i. a spring clip for holding and maintaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship, where the spring bias of the spring clip applies a force to the glazed panes such that glazed panes are pressed in a direction toward the centre of the IGU, the spring clip includes spaced apart inclined surfaces, each inclined surface having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU and where the upper surface of each inclined surface is adapted to accommodate and support thereon an edge portion of a respective glazed pane; and ii. a setting block for accommodating and supporting the spring clip; the setting block having spaced apart inclined surfaces that co-operate and correspond with the spring clip's inclined surfaces, each of the setting block inclined surfaces having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU, the upper surface of each setting block's inclined surface slidingly engages with a corresponding lower surface of a spring clip's inclined surface such that the spring clip, relative to the setting block, is able to slide in a direction along the flat extent of the inclined surfaces, wherein, the combination of the forces on the spring clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surfaces of the spring clip which in conjunction with the bias of the spring clip applies an inward force to the glazed panes to slide the spring clip in the direction toward the centre of the IGU and whereby the sliding action of the spring clip relative to the setting block creates and applies an opposing friction force that counters the inward force, the opposing force is less than the inward force such that a total force component (= inward force - friction force) is applied to the IGU and is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion. In a fourth aspect, the invention resides in an insulated glazing unit (IGU) for use in the glazing and building industry, the IGU having: a) a plurality of spaced apart glazed panes defining a gap therebetween; b) a non-ad esive seal (as hereinbefore defined) positioned between and near to the marginal edges of the facing surfaces of the glazed panes so as to provide hermetic sealing of the gap between the glazed panes from the outside atmosphere; and c) a holding means positionable on and around the periphery of the glazed panes, the holding means having: i. a clip for holding and maintaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship, the clip includes spaced apart inclined surfaces, each inclined surface having a flat extent parallel to the edges of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU and where the upper surface of each inclined surface is adapted to accommodate and support thereon an edge portion of a respective glazed pane; and ii. a setting block for accommodating and supporting the clip; the setting block having spaced apart inclined surfaces that co-operate and correspond with the inclined surfaces of the clip, each of the setting block inclined surfaces having a flat extent that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the 1GU, the upper surface of each setting block inclined surface slidingly engages with a corresponding lower surface of a clip's inclined surface such that the clip, relative to the setting block, is able to slide in a direction along the flat extent of the inclined surfaces, wherein, the combination of forces on the clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surfaces of the clip which applies an inward force to the glazed panes to slide the clip in the direction toward the centre of the IGU and whereby the sliding action of the clip relative to the setting block creates and applies an opposing friction force that counters the inward force, the opposing force is less than the inward force such that a total force component (= inward force - friction force) is applied to the IGU and is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion.

Preferably, the inclined surfaces of the setting block and the clip have an angle of inclination that results in the total force component along the sliding faces having a magnitude that allows the inward force to have sufficient strength to push the panes in a direction toward the centre of the IGU which therefore overcomes the friction force which might be resisting movement of the panes in a direction towards the centre of the IGU when compensating for climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion whilst maintaining the sealing integrity of the IGU. Preferably, the setting block is a Vee shaped wedge where the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge are at an angle so that the glazed panes slide, relative to the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge, in a direction toward the centre of the IGU so the glazed panes are always pressed toward each other irrespective of the climatic conditions such as wind and thermal expansion. Preferably, the setting block has retaining features that co-operatively and engageably interact with the spring clip so that setting block can be retained by the spring clip and does not fall out of the spring clip during handling and transportation of the IGU.

Preferably, the seal is of a resilient material.

Preferably, the seal has low water vapour permeability properties. Preferably, the seal includes stiffening properties so that the when the glazed panes are pressed together onto the sealing faces of said seal the stiffening properties of the seal prevent the seal from buckling or collapsing or compressing excessively.

Preferably, the seal is a compression seal. Preferably, the seal is a laminated seal.

Preferably, the seal is a laminated compression seal.

Preferably, the laminated seal is made from multi-layered strip material such that the laminated elements of the seal are able to slide alongside each other as the seal moves with the expanding and contracting of the glazed panes due to thermal or flexure effects. Preferably, the spring clip has a concertina shape so that the inclusion of length in the spring material allows for the adjustment of the stiffness of the spring clip.

Preferably, the concertina shaped spring clip includes ridges, troughs and upwardly extending side external edges, the bottom portion of the trough adjacent to the upwardly extending side external edges include and area that defines the inclined surfaces of the spring clip, the inclined surfaces have a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined toward the side external edges, each trough is adapted to accommodate and retain therein an edge portion of a respective glazed pane, the inclined surfaces are adapted to co-operate with and slide along corresponding inclined surfaces on the setting block, the inward facing surface of the upwardly extending side external edges are adapted to contact and press against the outer surface of the glazed panes so as to hold and retain the glazed panes in position.

Preferably, the spring clip is made from stainless steel.

Preferably, the troughs with the inclined surfaces have cushion material within them to cushion the edges of the glazed panes so that there is no generation of high contact point stress that might otherwise be generated at the contact points if the glazed edges rested directly on the stainless steel spring clip.

Preferably, a desiccant is situated within the sealed gap between the glazed panes. Preferably, one of the outer facing glazed panes has a hole in the glazed pane into which a hermetically sealed adaptor is situated, the said adaptor has a hole therein to allow fluid communication therethrough, the adaptor is connected to a replaceable desiccating pump so that the desiccating pump allows for the removal of water vapour or water droplets from within the sealed gap to maintain and ensure visual clarity of the IGU.

Preferably, the force applied to the inclined surfaces of clips positioned along the horizontal bottom edge of the IGU is a downward force as a result of the weight of the glazed panes.

Preferably, the force applied to the inclined surfaces of clips positioned along the vertical sides edges and along the horizontal top edge of the IGU is as a result of the IGU mounted in a tight fit within a window frame such that the setting blocks contacting the internal surface of the window frame are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU so that the clips push on the glazed panes glass so that the glazed panes are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU.

Preferably, a resilient spacer is positioned between the setting blocks and the window frame so that the setting blocks are urged against the clips which push on the glazed panes glass so that the glazed panes are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU.

Preferably, the resilient spacer is a partially compressed foam pad, a compressible rubber pad, a spring or a biasing means.

Preferably, the angle of inclination measured between the inclined surface and the base of the setting block has to be an angle that exceeds the arctangent of the coefficient of friction between the two materials of the clip and setting block in contact at the sliding and inclined faces of the inclined surfaces in order to ensure that the forces on the setting block overcome the natural friction forces occurring between the contacting surfaces of the spring clip and the setting block and so tend to slide the glass panes along the inclined surfaces toward the centre of the IGU.

Preferably, this angle of inclination as defined above is set at greater than or equal to arctangent of the coefficient of friction.

Preferably, this angle of inclination of the inclined surfaces relative to the setting block base is approximately 15°. In a fifth aspect, the invention resides in a holding means positionable on and along the periphery of glazed panes of an insulated glazing unit (IGU) in order to hold and maintain the glazed panes spaced apart while also sealing the gap between the glazed panes, the holding means having: a) a spring clip for holding and maintaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship, where the spring bias of the spring clip applies a force to the glazed panes such that glazed panes are pressed in a direction toward the centre of the IGU, the spring clip includes spaced apart inclined surfaces, each inclined surface having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU and where the upper surface of each inclined surface is adapted to accommodate and support thereon an edge portion of a respective glazed pane; and b) a setting block for accommodating and supporting the spring clip; the setting block having spaced apart inclined surfaces that co-operate and correspond with the spring clip's inclined surfaces, each of the setting block's inclined surfaces having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU, the upper surface of each setting block's inclined surface slidingly engages with a corresponding lower surface of a spring clip's inclined surface such that the spring clip, relative to the setting block, is able to slide in a direction along the flat extent of the inclined surfaces, wherein, the combination of the forces on the spring clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surfaces of the spring clip which in conjunction with the bias of the spring clip applies an inward force to the glazed panes to slide the spring clip in the direction toward the centre of the IGU and whereby the sliding action of the spring clip relative setting block creates and applies an opposing friction force that counters the inward force, the opposing force is less than the inward force such that a total force component (= inward force - friction force) is applied to the IGU and is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion. In a sixth aspect, the invention resides in an holding means positionable on and around the periphery of glazed panes of an insulated glazing unit (IGU) in order to hold and maintain the glazed panes spaced apart while also sealing the gap between the glazed panes, the holding means having: a) a clip for holding and maintaining the glazed panes together in a spaced apart relationship, the clip includes spaced apart inclined surfaces, each inclined surface having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU and where the upper surface of each inclined surface is adapted to accommodate and support thereon an edge portion of a respective glazed pane; and b) a setting block for accommodating and supporting the clip; the setting block having spaced apart inclined surfaces that co-operate and correspond with the inclined surfaces of the clip, each of the setting block inclined surfaces having a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined outwardly away from the centre of the IGU, the upper surface of each setting block inclined surface slidingly engages with a corresponding lower surface of a clip's inclined surface such that the clip, relative to the setting block, is able to slide in a direction along the flat extent of the inclined surfaces, wherein, the combination of the forces on the clip and setting block causes the glazed panes to apply a force on the inclined surfaces of the clip which applies an inward force to the glazed panes to slide the clip in the direction toward the centre of the IGU and whereby the sliding action of the clip relative to the setting block creates and applies an opposing friction force that counters the inward force, the opposing force is less than the inward force such that a total force component (- inward force - friction force) is applied to the IGU and is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glazed panes to move as a result of climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion. Preferably, the inclined surfaces of the setting block and the clip have an angle of inclination that results in the total force component having a magnitude that allows the inward force to have sufficient strength to push the panes in a direction toward the centre of the IGU which therefore overcomes the friction force which might be resisting movement of the panes in a direction towards the centre of the IGU when compensating for climatic conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion whilst maintaining the sealing integrity of the IGU. Preferably, the setting block is a Vee shaped wedge where the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge are at an angle so that the glazed panes slide, relative to the inclined surfaces of the Vee shaped wedge, in a direction toward the centre of the IGU so the glazed panes are always pressed toward each other irrespective of the climatic conditions such as wind and thermal expansion.

Preferably, the setting block has retaining features that co-operatively and engageably interact with the spring clip so that setting block can be retained to the spring clip and does not fall out of the spring clip during handling and transportation of the IGU.

Preferably, the spring clip has a concertina shape that allows the inclusion of length in the spring material which further allows for the adjustment of the stiffness of the spring clip.

Preferably, the concertina shaped spring clip includes ridges, troughs and upwardly extending side external edges, the bottom portion of the trough adjacent to the upwardly extending side external edges includes an area that defines the inclined surfaces of the spring clip, the inclined surfaces have a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes that is upwardly inclined toward the side external edges, each trough is adapted to accommodate and retain therein an edge portion of a respective glazed pane, the inclined surfaces are adapted to co-operate with and slide along corresponding inclined surfaces on the setting block, the inward facing surface of the upwardly extending side external edges are adapted to contact and press against the outer surface of the glazed panes as to hold and retain the glazed panes in position.

Preferably, the spring clip is made from stainless steel.

Preferably, the troughs with the inclined surfaces have cushion material within them to cushion the edges of the glazed panes so that there is no generation of high contact point stress that might otherwise be generated at the contact points if the glazed edges rested directly on the stainless steel spring clip.

Preferably, the force applied to the inclined surfaces of clips positioned along the horizontal bottom edge of the IGU is a downward force as a result of the weight of the glazed panes.

Preferably, the force applied to the inclined surfaces of clips positioned along the vertical sides edges and along the horizontal top edge of the IGU is as a result of the IGU mounted in a tight fit within a window frame such that the setting blocks contacting the internal surface of the window frame are urged in a direction toward the centre of the 1GU so that clips push on the glazed panes glass so that the glazed panes are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU. Preferably, a resilient spacer is positioned between the setting blocks and the window frame so that the setting blocks are urged against the glazed panes so that the glazed panes are urged in a direction toward the centre of the IGU.

Preferably, the resilient spacer is a partially compressed foam pad, a compressible rubber pad, a spring or a biasing means. Preferably, the angle of inclination between the sliding and inclined face and the base of the setting block has to be at an angle that exceeds the arctangent of the coefficient of friction between the two materials of the clip and setting block in contact at the sliding and inclined faces of the inclined surfaces in order to ensure the glazed panes slide along the inclined surfaces toward the centre of the IGU. Preferably, this angle of inclination is set at greater than or equal to arctangent of the coefficient of friction between the two materials of the clip and setting block.

Preferably, this angle of inclination of the inclined surfaces is approximately 15°.

Any other aspects herein described.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION The invention will now be described, by way of example only, by reference to the accompanying drawings:

Figure 1 is a cross-sectional view of an insulated glazing unit in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the invention.

Figure 2 is a cross-sectional view of the lower part of the insulated glazing unit as shown in Figure 1.

;ure 3 is an exploded view of the insulated glazing unit as shown in Figure 2. Figure 4 is an exploded view of the insulated glazing unit in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the invention.

Figure 5 is a view of the lower edge of the insulated glazing unit as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 6 is a cross-sectional view of the lower edge of the insulated glazing unit in accordance with a third preferred embodiment of the invention.

Figure 7 is a cross-sectional view of the setting block used in the insulated glazing unit as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 8 is a perspective view of the setting block used in the insulated glazing unit as shown in Figure 7. Figure 9 is a perspective view of the spring clip used in the insulated glazing unit as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 10 is a side view of the spring clip as shown in Figure 6 in an expanded state.

Figure 11 is a side view of the spring clip as shown in Figure 6 in its natural unexpanded state. Figure 12 is a cross-sectional view of the insulated glazing unit in accordance with a fourth preferred embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

The following description will describe the invention in relation to preferred embodiments of the invention, namely an insulated glazing unit. The invention is in no way limited to these preferred embodiments as they are purely to exemplify the invention only and that possible variations and modifications would be readily apparent without departing from the scope of the invention.

Figures 1 to 3 show a insulated glazing unit 10 situated within the joinery 11, 12 of a window frame. The IGU 10 shown is to that of a double-glazing unit, however it is envisaged that the invention as hereinafter described is applicable to multi-glazing units, such as triple glazing units, without departing from the ambit and scope of the invention. The IGU has two spaced apart glass panes 13 defining an air gap 15 therebetween. The glass panes 13 are separated and held apart by a combination of a seal 30, clip 40 and setting block 50. This combination results in the air gap 15 being completely sealed relative to the surrounding outside air, and in the glass panes being held in position to maintain the integrity of the seal 30 whilst allowing the glass panes 13 to compensate for climatic and environmental displacements, such as wind induced motion and thermal expansion. The sealing of the IGU is done with no bonding adhesives and/or bonding agents.

The IGU can include a desiccant situated within the air gap 15 or preferably a desiccating pump 20 could be mounted to the exterior surface of a glass pane and in communication to a hole 14 in one of the glass panes 13. The desiccating pump 20 thus allows air within the air gap 15 to be effectively freed of water vapour by sucking and removing moisture from within the air gap 15 and being absorbed by the desiccating means within the desiccating pump 20. The desiccating pump 20 once the desiccant is fully charged (i.e. no longer able to absorb any more moisture) is able to be removed and replaced with a fresh desiccating pump. A hermetically sealed adaptor fitting 17 could be sealingly fitted within the hole 14 so that a hermetically sealed desiccating pump 20 can be attached to the adaptor fitting 17, and the gas between the glass panes 13 can communicate with the desiccant means or materials and/or contents of the chamber of the of the desiccating pump 20 but not the outer atmosphere and to allow the desiccating pump to be easily removed and replaced. While the sealing functionality of the IGU is hopefully long lasting, it is assumed that the seal functionality may eventually fail and allow the permeation of water vapour into the air gap 15 between the panes 13. If and when this is case, it is necessary to provide a desiccating pump 20 to remove the incoming water vapour from between the panes 13 faster than it can enter to ensure continuing clarity of the window panes. Such desiccating pump 20 allows for the air gap 15 to be dried, or effectively vapour free even if and when the seal 30 is compromised and/or fails.

The seal 30 is situated within the air gap 15 and between the interior surface of the glass panes 13 and near to the edges of the glass panes 1 3 in order that once the IGU is assembled the seal 30 is sandwiched between the glass panes 13. The seal 30 not only acts to seal the air gap 15 from the outside, but also acts as a spacer. The seal 30 is of a resilient material (with low water vapour permeability properties) and may have stiffening properties so that the when the glass panes 13 are pressed together onto the sealing faces of said seal 30 the stiffening properties of the seal 30 prevents the seal 30 from buckling or collapsing or compressing excessively. Once the IGU is assembled the seal 30 has a substantially constant force or forces applied to its sealing faces which are in contact with the glass, via the glass, and along the entire length of the seal and in close vicinity of the seal-to-glass contact zone. The seal 30 when under compression from the force or forces applied to the glass and thence to the seal contact zone creates a closed cavity (air gap 15) which entraps gases such as air and water vapour substantially hermetically between the panes of glass 15. No special bonding adhesives (as defined earlier) are used to obtain an air-tight seal. The compression of the seal 30 is achieved by using a compensating force, not a clamping force or bonding force.

Another type of seal that could be utilised is a seal which has added resilience beyond its natural properties such as might be achieved by extruding a rubber-like material around a continuous metal expanding type spring - or other material with a different resilience - including even a pressurised gas in a pocket within the seal. The use of such a seal is such that when the seal is compressed, both the natural resilience of the seal and the supplementary force from the added spring or other material or means press the seal faces against the glass. An external compressing force would be applied to the outer faces of the sheets of the glass which make up the unit to initially apply pressure to sandwich the seal and a clip would then be applied to hold the glass panes in a substantially fixed distance apart (after the initial compressing force was released) to resist the separating force caused by the expansion forces inherent within the sandwiched seal. The seal, in this case, would also create a gas-tight cavity between the panes of glass.

The seal 30 is preferably a laminated seal (or could be an O-ring) that is fitted around the glass pane 13 perimeter and compressed and/or held between the glass panes by a spring clip 40 that fits into a rebated trough 1 8 around the glass panes 13. The seal 30 can be of a strip material, perhaps compounded so that it is attracted to adjacent strips (in the manner of a fridge magnet) and it can be wrapped around pins to create a multi-layered (laminated) seal. Thus this type of seal removes the need for the seal to be "nicked" or bracketed at the point where there is a corner to be negotiated as is the case with the present sealing methods. If the "traditional" seal was bent around a corner as a solid, the inner edge of the bend would swell in width, and the outer edge would shrink and as such the seal profile is deformed and inhibits good sealing. The laminated seal of this invention greatly diminishes this problem and dispenses with the need for extra attention at the corners of the seals. The abutting faces of all the laminated elements of the seal are able to slide past each other as the seal moves with expanding and contracting glass (thermal or flexure effects).

The spring clip 40 and setting block 50 combination allows for movement from flexure (in the wind) and thermal movement as a consequence of temperature differences between the glass panes 13. The spring clip 40 can be intermittently fixed around the periphery of the glass panes 13 so as to allow a triple glazing unit to be made up with spring clips for the third pane fitted between those that compress the first two panes.

Whilst the spring clips compress the seal between the glass panes, this does not preclude the compressive force from being applied by a spring force or pneumatic force, say built into the joinery. Is noted that a spring force effect is not like that of a "fixed" clamp, such as a screwed clip. While all materials used for clamping have inherent elasticity, a clamp has a limited range of displacement when things swell, move or contract. A clamp will have some small spring effect but such an effect has its limitations. A spring clip, however, is intended to apply an almost similar force to the object being clamped even as the object displaces, expands, contracts or moves.

The spring clip 40 of this invention, has a concertina shape as clearly seen in figure 3, 9, 10 and 1 1. The concertina shape allows the inclusion of length in the spring material, which is used to adjust the "stiffness" of the spring, along with material thickness and other material properties. The clip 40 has ridges 42 and troughs 43, 44, 45 and upwardly extending side external edges 46. The bottom portion 41 of the troughs 45 have an area defining an inclined surface that has a flat extent parallel to the edge of the glass panes and that is upwardly inclined toward the side edges 46, the inclined bottom portions 41 are adapted to co-operate with corresponding inclined portions on the setting block 50. In figure 10 spring clip is shown in an expanded state and in figure 1 1 the spring clip 40 is shown in its natural neutral state. The clip 40 as shown in figures 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10 & 1 1 are shown having two spaced apart ridges 42 separated by three troughs 44, 45. However it is envisaged that other concertina configurations can be utilised such as that shown in figures 4 & 5 and shown in figure 12 in respect of a triple-glazed unit. Also, it is envisaged that the spring clip could have other configurations and shape that include an area defining an inclined surface without departing from the scope of the invention herein. The spring clip 40 is preferably made of stainless-steel, however, it is envisaged it can be made from any of known materials capable of providing spring-like functionality to the clip. The spring clip 40 that clips the setting block to the glass panes and pushes the panes 13 together has a concertina shape with small troughs on either side of it which each contain the "softish" cushion material 16 to cushion the glass panes 13 so that there is no generation of high, point contact stress that might otherwise be generated at the contact points if the glass edges rested directly on the stainless-steel spring clip 40.

The setting block 50 is also an important feature of the invention. Generally, all windows rest on at least two rectangular prisms which are located between their bottom edge and the surface that the blocks rest upon. These blocks carry the weight of the IGU when it is in the window frame, and are of a "softish" material so that the brittle glass does not experience high point contact stresses at the zone where the blocks make contact with them. Chipping and cracking of the glass could result if the setting block was hard steel for example. However, with traditional setting blocks, the bottom edges of the glass panes sink into the setting blocks and form a small depression therein. On hot days, the panes are forced apart (by a very small amount, admittedly) and large forces from the expanding spacer are available to do this. But when cooling takes place, the only force available to pull the panes back together is that of the contracting sealant. A tensile force is then set up in the bond between the glass and sealant which may contribute to bond failure, especially as this is a cyclic process throughout the day, weeks, months and the years.

The setting block 50 of the invention as shown in figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 12 has a "Vee" wedge feature, where a force is created and applied to the IGU so that the glass panes 13 are always pressed together irrespective of the thermal conditions. The angle of the "Vee" is adjusted to ensure that friction forces between the setting block 0 and the bottom face of the spring clip 40 do not diminish this effect. The setting block 50 has retaining features 52 that co-operatively and engageably interact within troughs 43 of the spring clip 40 so that setting block 50 does not fall out of the spring clip 40 during handling. Note that the setting block 50 can also be used all around the window where a foam pad (for example of a foamed polyethylene) can be inserted between it and the window frame so that the spring clips 40 get some added impetus, but where the foam is still soft enough to allow thermal and flexural movement to occur. The setting block 50 has two inclined surfaces 1 upon which rest on two similarly inclined surfaces 41 of the spring clip 40. When the glass panes 13 rest on the cushion 16 within the spring clip troughs 45, the glass panes experience forces to cause the glass panes 13 to try and slide inwards towards each other, assisted by the spring clip 40 which is trying to do the same thing. If the inclination angle is too small, the friction force between the inclined stainless-steel surface 41 and its opposite 51 on the setting block may be large enough to oppose the spring clip force and sliding force component generated by the slope and prevent motion when the window panes want to close together. So, the inclination of the inclined surfaces 41 , 51 of the setting block and spring clip is designed so that the angle of inclination is always able to ensure that a "closing" force of the required magnitude is always present. If the inclination is too steep, it is possible that the closing force will be so large that it will be difficult for wind, thermal and other forces to overcome the closing force and that this may lead to cracking of the glass. The essence of the design is that things are so arranged that the force desired is always present to provide the desired closing force on the two panes of glass. The angle of inclination (ia) as measured between the base angle of the setting block and the inclined angle of the sliding surface has to exceed, by some amount, the coefficient of friction which exists between the two materials in contact at the sliding and inclined face of the inclined surfaces. The relationship between that inclined angle (ia) and the coefficient of friction (mu) is usually expressed as "mu = tan(ia)". Thus the inclined angle (ia) is an arctangent of the coefficient of friction (mu), i.e. "ia - arctan(mu)". At this angle the inwards force IF will equal the friction force FF, i.e. this is the angle where sliding is just beginning. In order to ensure the glass panes slide down the inclined surfaces the angle of inclination (ia) is set a "little bit" greater than arctan(mu) i.e. "ia > arctan(mu)".

The preferred angle of inclination (ia) between the inclined surface of the steel spring clip and polyethylene setting block base is that of an acute angle, preferably in the range of 10° to 20°. Preferably, the inclined angle is approximately 15°.

The setting block 50 is attachable and loosely retained to any clip or spring clip (or other means suitable to carry the weight of the glass panes and used to achieve the "closing" force) so that the setting block remains loosely attached to the IGU, clip, spring clip or other means, during installation and handling of the IGU. It may have other small lugs fitted to it to ensure that it does not slide out of position during handling. The setting block as shown in figures 1 to 3, 6, 7, 8 & 12 show a setting block 50 having a central trough 53 separating two spaced apart upwardly extending portions 52 from which at their base extend the inclined portions 51 that co-operate and support the inclined portions of the clip 40. The upwardly extending portions 52 act to assist in retaining the setting block 50 to the clip 40 by engageably interacting within troughs 43 of the clip 40. Figures 4 and 5 show an alternative setting block 50 having only one upwardly extending portions 52.

As mentioned previously one aspect of the invention is that the clip and setting block combination is mat it assists in distributing a force of the glass panes evenly and effectively such that these forces assist in the sealing aspects of the IGU. Figure 5 graphically shows the forces that are applied in respect of the inventive IGU where the setting blocks and spring clips are attached to the horizontal bottom edge of the IGU. The weight of the glass panes 13 apply a downward force Won the cushions 16 resting on the inclined surface 41 of the clip 40 which in conjunction with the spring clip applies an inward force IF in the direction toward the centre of the IGU, however the inward force is countered by an opposing friction force FF and the inherent resilience/stiffness of the compression seal, however this opposing force is less than the inward force FF such that weight force WF applied is of sufficient force to maintain the sealing integrity of the IGU and allow for the glass panes to move as a result of climatic and environmental conditions, such as wind and thermal expansion.

Figure 12 shows another embodiment of the invention pertaining to a triple-glazed unit 60. The features of this unit 60 are similar to that of that shown in the previous figures. The triple-glazed unit has three spaced apart glass panes 13 defining two air gaps. The middle pane 13 has an opening 66 to allow for fluid communication between the two air gaps. Each air gap is sealed by a seal, preferably a laminated seal. Spring clip 70 in combination with a setting block 80 assists in retaining the glass panes 13 in sealing configuration with the seal. Instead of one sealing block 80 and one clip 70 it is envisaged that the clips and sealing block as shown in figures 7 to 1 1 can be utilised whereby a first set of a plurality of clips and setting block can be spaced apart around the periphery of the glass panes and connected to ends of outer and the middle glass panes in the same or similar fashion utilised for the a double-glazed unit. A second set of clips and setting blocks can be spaced apart around the periphery of the glass panes and connected to ends of middle and inner glass panes in the same or similar fashion utilised for a double-glazed unit. The clips and setting blocks of the second set are positioned on the middle pane in the space between two corresponding spaced apart clips and setting blocks of the first set positioned on the middle pane.

Aspects of the spring clip and setting block combination utilised in the IGU of this invention:

1. The concertina structure and effect allows the spring "stiffness" to be adjusted.

Stiffness is the measure of deflection versus load. A spring with a high stiffness will have a large change of force even with small deflection changes. A spring with a low stiffness will see little change of force with small changes in deflection. Stiffness can be altered by changing the "length" of material used in the spring, or by choosing a thicker or thinner or different material.

2. The convolutions in the spring clip 40 allow length to be added in order to regulate stiffness.

3. The convolutions also allow a means of loosely attaching the setting block 50 to the spring, where it can be retained until installation and then left in place.

4. The outer troughs of the spring contain cushion pads 16.

5. The bottoms 41 of the outer troughs 45 for the spring clip 40 are inclined so that when they rest on the mating face 51 of the setting block 50 with the window weight applied, a force is generated to push the panes of glass towards each other.

6. The spring clip/setting block combinations may additionally be used up the sides of and across the top of the IGU. As such the pushing force required can be achieved by the IGU being mounted in a tight fit manner such that the spring clip/setting block combinations experience a pushing force as a result of the contact with the internal edges of the window frame. Alternatively, a partially compressed foam pad (or a compressible rubber pad, a spring or any other known suitable biasing means) could be inserted between the setting block and the window frame so that the setting block 50 experiences a pushing that pushes the setting block against the spring clip 40. The clip 40 would push on the glass so that, again, a pair of "closing" forces works to push the glass panes together. 7. The spring clip 40 material properties are chosen for low relaxation, corrosion resistance, fatigue resistance, strength, formability.

8. The spring clips' grip length on the glass is the minimum necessary so that the clip's grip length doesn't significantly interfere with existing window joinery designs.

9. Spring clips are set intermittently around the periphery of the glass panes, for example, if the clip is 20 mm wide, the next clip might be 25 mm away. This gap between the clips leaves room for another clip inserted between them that might be used to create a triple glazed window.

10. Spring clip widths are variable. It may be desirable for the glass to have a large number of narrow, soft clips or it may be desirable, cheaper and faster for the manufacturer to have a smaller number of wide and "harder" spring clips.

An alternative is envisaged where the retaining clip could have zero spring force or almost zero spring force and are used around the periphery of the glazing unit to keep the glass panes at a set distance apart while the internal forces in the resilient seal cause said seal to press its sealing faces against the panes of glass which in turn are forced against the retaining clip which prevents the glass panes from moving outwards.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention provides an acceptable level of insulation which reduces heat transmission to or from a building and which also reduces sound transmission into and out a building but which has an improved longevity as compared to those insulated glazing units manufactured according to current practice.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention creates a sealed gas cavity between the glass panes without the deliberate use of adhesive bonding materials being used as part of the sealing means. The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention provides a sealing and spacing means for the sealed glass cavity which can be renewed by separating the panes of glass and pulling the sealing and spacing means away from the glass easily because as there is no deliberate adhesive bond of the seal to the glass then there is no difficulty in cleaning and re-using the glass.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention attempts to provide hermetic sealing of the sealed gas cavity, while acknowledging that perfect hermetic sealing is unlikely, so the double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention allows for dehydrating devices to be connected to the adaptor fitting in at least one glass pane which can then remove water vapour from the sealed gas cavity between the panes at a net rate faster than it can penetrate the cavity. The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention can be simply and economically maintained to ensure that misting or fogging does not occur within the gas cavity between the panes of glass by making use of a mounted desiccating "pump" (fitted on the atmospheric side of the glazing unit) that collects and retains water vapour from the sealed gas cavity between the panes of glass, so that even small amounts of water vapour ingress between the glass panes does not lead to permanent loss of transparency of all or part of the unit. The water/water vapour collecting "pump" can be conveniently "emptied" of its collected water/water/vapour/ice contents and or desiccant. The "pump" action can be renewed, recharged or simply continued indefinitely over the life span of the window unit.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention allows for the re-use of the glass rather than to discard it should the glazing unit ever need to be resealed with a new seal.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention sandwiches the gas cavity seal between the panes of glass and then applies a spring force to the glass panes so that the seal between the glass panes experiences substantially constant compression force during its lifetime even as the panes may move together or apart by small distances or deflect in other ways.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention is envisaged to have spring action, springs, or spring clips that are fitted around the periphery of the glazed unit to provide the compressive sealing force on the seal by pulling or pushing each pane of glass on to the sandwiched seal. The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention has springs or spring clips that provide the compressive sealing force on the seal which also contribute significantly to the forces required to hold the panes of glass, and the seal, in the correct relationship to each other at all times by means of friction and compressive forces generated by the spring force and which exist at the contact face between the sealing and spacing means and the panes of glass. The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention includes "vee" shaped setting blocks which offer little or no resistance to motion of the panes of glass that might be subjected to thermal or mechanical displacement while resting on the "vee" setting block compared to the ease of movement and varying stresses caused by traditional setting blocks in which the glass forms "trenches". Note the "vee" setting blocks can also be used around the non-horizontal edges of the window where they might also have a small force applied to them from a foam strip compressed between the base of the setting block and the window frame. The "vee" setting blocks also supplement the compressive force applied to the seal sandwiched between the glass panes on the other edges of the glazing unit. The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention ensures that the weight of the glazing unit is carried by "vee" setting blocks that provide a supplementary compressing force to the sandwiched seal. The predominant seal compressing force in the region of the setting blocks is provided by the spring force mentioned above.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention arranges the "vee" setting blocks to be loosely retained in the spring clip so that they do not separate when the window is being handled during transport or installation and yet they do not interfere with the desired action of the spring clip or movement of the glass panes.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention uses the retained setting blocks which are put into the spring clips at the time of assembly to provide a manner of protection of the edges of the glass against impact such as may occur during handling or installation.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention accommodates the bulk of the volume of the multitude of spring force clips (that pull the glass on to the sandwiched seal, that is, spring force clips which can provide the seal compressing force) in a rebated zone all around the edge of the glazed unit. The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention ensures that its assembled components can be fitted into standard window joinery so that it may directly replace current practice IGUs without significant modification to the current styles of window joinery.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention allows for the spring force clips that compress the sandwiched window seal to be easily removed, and the sandwiched seal to also be easily removed so that the window unit can be disassembled into its individual components without having to contend with adhesives and adhesive residues that may remain behind on the glass panes - as is the problem in current practice.

The double-glazed insulating window unit of the invention extends the life of the window units by giving access to the sealed gas cavity via an adaptor fitted to one of the panes of glass that enables desiccating "pumps" of types other than a desiccant filled canister to be either intermittently or permanently affixed to the glazing unit so that they may continually or continuously extract water vapour from the otherwise sealed cavity between the panes of glass that make up the sealed glazing unit. In summary the 1GU, preferably a double-glazed insulating window unit (however other multi-glazed units such as a triple-glazed unit are envisaged)— has a substantially hermetically sealed cavity between the two panes that contain a substantially dry gas at all times when the seal is working as required. achieves the substantially hermetic seal without the aid of bonding adhesives. has a primary sealing and spacing means between the panes made preferably from a resilient material with a low permeability to water vapour preferably with some internal reinforcing against crushing, and creep and which may have a circular or elliptical cross section and which can be easily joined end for end where necessary and easily bent into the desired shapes. This sealing and spacing seal means may also be created from an internally re-enforced laminar strip, made from resilient, low water vapour permeability materials, the laminar strip having been created by winding several layers on to a former and which may have supplementary sealing substances added to this primary seal to seal small gaps that may occur during the winding and assembly process. Whatever form of primary seal is used, the primary seal is made preferably from resilient materials which seal effectively against glass to provide a substantial barrier to water vapour ingress into the sealed gas cavity, while the supplementary sealant may be made from a polyisobutylene-like material that has a high viscosity and low permeability to water vapour but which does not bond or adhere permanently to the glass panes. • has the aforementioned sandwiched sealing means set in some distance from all the edges of the glazing unit so as to leave a channel or trough around the perimeter of the glazing unit perhaps 8 - 10 mm deep and as wide as the gap between the panes of glass. » uses an elastic but substantially constant force on the glass panes to compress the edges of the sandwiched primary sealing strip and also any supplementary sealing material, and which applies this substantially constant force even though the gap between the panes of glass changes as a result of thermal expansion and contraction, wind displacements and vibration induced motion. · uses a seal and spacing means with supplementary, permanent, elastic resilient properties sandwiched between the panes of glass and around the periphery of the glazed unit so that the seal itself is always trying to separate the panes of glass but is prevented from doing so by substantially inelastic clips that contain and prevent the subsequent spread of the glass panes that sandwich this seal. The seal must again form a hermetically sealed chamber between the glass panes that may contain gas and water vapour without the use of adhesives.

• preferably uses numerous stainless steel spring force clips of a special shape, and spaced around the glazing unit's perimeter, to pull the glass panes on to the sealing means so as to compress said sealing means. The spring effect will allow greater displacements apart or together of the glass and yet supply a substantially constant force during said movement.

• incorporates a preferably firm but not hard "cushion" in the spring force clip "troughs" that can satisfactorily bear the weight of the glass and which distributes the weight load of the glazing unit evenly across the contact area between the edge of the glass of each glazing unit pane, the cushion itself, and the spring leg that the cushion is contained in.

• has a spring force clip with polished surfaces shaped so that they mate with a "vee" built in to the setting blocks that may carry the weight of the glazed window unit. has the glass resting in the cushion within the legs of the spring clip which in turn rests in the mating "vee" of the setting block that is sandwiched between the spring and the window frame in such a way that the weight of the glazing unit is transferred to the "cushions' and via the cushions to the vee shaped spring leg that mates with the vee in the setting block and then via the spring leg to the setting block itself which then finally transfers the glazed unit's weight to the window frame. makes use of setting blocks with a special "vee" form that in conjunction with the clip or spring clip always provides a supplementary force to compress the primary seal which depends largely upon the angle of the vee form in the setting block. retains the setting blocks loosely within the spring clips to protect the window during handling and installation. makes use of at least two setting blocks and springs with cushions along the lower edges of the glazing unit to transmit the weight of the glazing unit to the window frame. has the setting blocks fitted to every spring clip used around the periphery of the glazing unit preferably with a piece of soft but foam-like resilient material compressed gently into the gap between the window frame and the base area of these other setting blocks so as to cause the setting blocks to each provide a supplementary force which keeps the glass panes pressed together. accommodates most of the spring clip in a rebated channel between the panes of glass all the way around the perimeter of the glazed unit. may have a hole in the glass (if there is no desiccant contained in the sealed gas cavity between the panes of glass) that gives access to the otherwise sealed gas cavity between the panes, into which a preferably metal adaptor device is hermetically sealed to the glass at the point where it is attached to the hole in the glass, and that this adaptor also has a pluggable hole through it which allows the indoor (or outdoor) atmosphere to communicate with the gas in the sealed chamber between the panes of glass, except when the hole in the adaptor is itself hermetically sealed off ("plugged") or when a desiccating "pump" is attached to the adaptor. • may have a desiccating pump attached intermittently or substantially permanently to the adaptor described immediately above so that the gas in the sealed glazing unit chamber may communicate with the gas and desiccating means (desiccating substance or electronic refrigerating means) that are housed in the hermetically sealed space that makes up the desiccating pump chamber.

• can be fitted or retro-fitted into most present styles of window frame joinery with preferably no modification to said joinery.

• requires the spring force and the seal to both seal as well as hold the components in their correct relationship to each other. · where the adaptor and desiccating pump (when part of the IGU) remove water vapour or water droplets to ensure visual clarity of the unit unless a desiccant means is housed in the completely sealed gas cavity.

• where the spring and the setting block remove or oppose unwanted separating forces from the glass panes and contribute supplementary sealing forces, while carrying and distributing the weight of the glazed unit.

ADVANTAGES a) Extending the life and lowering the overall costs of ownership of double glazed windows by providing a practical means for the prevention of fogging and the loss of insulation value of double glazed windows and by making them repairable/serviceable. b) Use of a non-bonding non-adhesive sealing means that will not fail in the catastrophic manner of bonded adhesive seals. c) Seal can be replaced without having to replace glass panes.

EQUIVALENTS CLAUSE.

The Invention may also broadly be said to consist in the parts, elements and features referred or indicated in the specification, individually or collectively, and any or all combinations of any of two or more parts, elements, members or features and where specific integers are mentioned herein which have known equivalents such equivalents are deemed to be incorporated herein as if individually set forth.

The examples and the particular proportions set forth are intended to be illustrative only and are thus non-limiting. VARIATIONS

The invention has been described with particular reference to certain embodiments thereof. It will be understood that various modifications can be made to the above-mentioned embodiment without departing from the ambit of the invention. The skilled reader will also understand the concept of what is meant by purposive construction.