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Title:
COMPRESSION FIT GROOVED SPACER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/055447
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A spacer supports first and second panes of an insulating unit wherein the spacer also compressively supports a third inner pane between the first and second panes. The spacer defines a channel that receives the outer perimeter edge of the third pane. The spacer on either side of a channel neck is deformed when the third pane is inserted into the channel. The resiliency of the spacer material causes the spacer material on both sides of the channel neck to compressively engage the third pane of glass. The spacer thus holds the inner spacer without the need for an adhesive disposed in the channel. This configuration closes the channel against the pane preventing the internal surface of the channel from being viewed which provides a desirable appearance to the inner portion of the insulating glass unit.

Inventors:
BUCHANAN RONALD (US)
SEATS DYLAN (US)
FLORIO JOSEPH (US)
MCPEEK DAVID (US)
MOLINARO MARK (US)
HUMMEL SEAN (US)
ERB JOE (US)
Application Number:
US2020/051035
Publication Date:
March 25, 2021
Filing Date:
September 16, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
QUANEX IG SYSTEMS INC (US)
International Classes:
E06B3/663
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016091646A12016-06-16
WO2017207193A12017-12-07
Foreign References:
DE102009057156A12011-06-09
US6115989A2000-09-12
NL7208541A1973-01-10
CA2876598A12016-07-06
US4831799A1989-05-23
US6295788B22001-10-02
US8534019B22013-09-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZOLLINGER, Fred, H. (P.O. Box 2368North Canton, OH, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An assembly comprising: first and second panes carried by a perimeter spacer assembly to define an inner insulating chamber; the first pane having a thickness; the second pane having a thickness; a third inner pane carried by the spacer assembly in the inner insulating chamber; the third pane having a thickness; the thickness of the third pane being less than the thicknesses of the first and second panes; the spacer assembly including a resilient spacer body having an inner surface facing the inner insulating chamber, first and second side surfaces, and an outer surface; the spacer body defining a channel that receives edge portions of the third pane; the channel defined by a channel base and a channel neck that connects the inner surface of the spacer body to the channel base; and the portions of the spacer body disposed between the inner surface, the channel neck, and the channel base being shoulder portions that compressively engage the third pane.

2. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein the spacer body has a width, the channel neck being centered with respect to the width of the spacer body.

3. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein the spacer body has a height and a center, the channel base having a center disposed offset inwardly of the center of the height of the spacer body.

4. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein the channel base has a width that is larger than the thickness of the third pane.

5. The assembly of claim 4, wherein the channel base defines a seat for the third panel; the seat being aligned with the channel neck.

6. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein the third pane divides the insulating chamber into first and second portions; the first and second portions of the insulating chamber in fluid communication around the ends of the third pane.

7. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein the third pane divides the insulating chamber into first and second portions; the first and second portions of the insulating chamber in fluid communication though an opening defined by the third pane.

8. The assembly of claim 1 , further comprising a sealant disposed in a channel defined between the outer surface of the spacer assembly and the first and second panes.

9. The assembly of claim 1 , further comprising an adhesive connecting the spacer body to the first and second panes.

10. The assembly of claim 9, wherein the adhesive in an acrylic adhesive.

11. The assembly of claim 10, further comprising a moisture vapor barrier connected to the outer surface of the spacer body.

12. A spacer assembly used to form a triple pane insulating glazing unit where the unit includes an inner third pane having a thickness; the spacer assembly comprising: a spacer body having an inner surface adapted to face the inner insulating chamber of an insulating glazing unit, first and second side surfaces, and an outer surface; the spacer body defining a channel adapted to receive edge portions of a third pane; the channel defined by a channel base and a channel neck that connects the inner surface of the spacer body to the channel base; the portions of the spacer body disposed between the inner surface, the channel neck, and the channel base being shoulder portions adapted to resiliently engage the third pane; and the shoulder portions spaced apart at the channel neck by a distance that is less than the thickness of the third pane.

13. The assembly of claim 12, wherein the spacer body has a width, the channel neck being centered with respect to the width of the spacer body.

14. The assembly of claim 12, wherein the spacer body has a height and a center, the channel base having a center disposed offset inwardly of the center of the height of the spacer body.

15. The assembly of claim 12, wherein the channel base has a width that is larger than the channel neck.

16. The assembly of claim 15, wherein the channel base defines a seat for the third panel; the seat being aligned with the channel neck.

17. The assembly of claim 12, further comprising an adhesive disposed on the first and second side surfaces.

18. The assembly of claim 17, wherein the adhesive in an acrylic adhesive.

19. The assembly of claim 18, further comprising a moisture vapor barrier connected to the outer surface of the spacer body.

Description:
COMPRESSION FIT GROOVED SPACER

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to and the benefit of United States Provisional Patent Application 62/901 ,120 filed September 16, 2019; the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

1. Technical Field

The disclosure relates to spacers for insulating glass units, triple-sheet insulating glass units, and methods for making the spacers and methods for making the triple-sheet insulating glass units. Specifically, the disclosure relates to a spacer that compressively holds at least an inner third pane of a triple-sheet insulating glass unit.

2. Background Information

Multiple-pane insulating units are used to increase the energy efficiency of houses and other buildings. A multiple-pane insulating unit includes a pair of outer glazing panes spaced apart by a spacer disposed about or just inside the perimeter of the panes. The two panes cooperate with the spacer to form an insulating sealed cavity that is either filled with air or an inert gas. One or more inner panes can be held by the spacer assembly in a substantially parallel relation to the outer glazing panes. The inner pane or panes can be another pane of glass having the same thickness as the outer panes, another pane of glass that is thinner than the outer panes, or a thin flexible plastic inner film that is typically made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). In a triple unit, the inner pane divides the single cavity into a pair of cavities to add a further layer of insulation between the outside atmosphere and the inside atmosphere. One method of forming a triple-pane insulating unit is to use two spacers between the three panes to form side-by-side individually-sealed insulating cavities. Examples of this configuration are described in FIGS. 4-7 of US Patent 4,831 ,799. Another method of forming triple-pane insulating units is disclosed in US Patent 6,295,788 wherein an inner pane is received in an open slot defined by an insert carried by a rigid spacer. Using such slots for thin inner panels creates manufacturing problems. A further method is disclosed in US 8,534,019 wherein an inner pane is received by flexible fingers that project into an inwardly-facing channel.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosure provides a spacer for supporting the first and second panes of an insulating glass unit wherein the spacer also compressively supports a third inner pane between the first and second panes. The spacer defines a channel that receives the outer perimeter edge of the third pane.

The defined channel has a neck connecting a channel base to an inner surface of the spacer. In one configuration, the channel base has a maximum width that is larger than the thickness of the third pane and the neck has a width that is smaller than the thickness of the third pane. This configuration requires the spacer material on either side of the channel neck to be deformed to allow the third pane to be inserted into the channel. The spacer is resilient. The resiliency of the spacer material causes the spacer material on both sides of the channel neck to compressively engage the third pane of glass. The spacer thus holds the inner spacer without the need for an adhesive disposed in the channel. This configuration closes the channel against the pane preventing the internal surface of the channel from being viewed which provides a desirable appearance to the inner portion of the insulating glass unit.

The disclosure provides an insulating glass unit with a thin inner pane that allows the triple unit to have the overall thickness as a two pane unit while also having comparable weight. The disclosure provides spacer configurations with multiple channels so that the spacer can receive multiple inner panes to create insulating glazing units having more than three panes.

In one configuration, the above spacer defines a channel that is offset inwardly from the center of the spacer. This configuration has the spacer material disposed along the channel neck being thinner that the spacer material disposed between the channel base and the outer surface of the spacer.

The disclosure also provides an option wherein a material is disposed within the channel with the edge of the third pane engaging the material. The material is an adhesive, a sealant, or a desiccant matrix. The configuration of the channel helps to prevent this material from flowing out of the neck of the channel both before and after the third pane is inserted.

The disclosure provides a method for forming a spacer having a channel that can receive the edge of a third pane of glass. The method includes the step of extruding or otherwise forming the elongated spacer with a longitudinal opening that will form the channel base. This longitudinal opening has a width greater than the thickness of the pane to be inserted into the channel. The spacer is then slit from its inner surface into the channel to form the neck having a width smaller than the thickness of the pane to be inserted into the neck of the channel.

The individual features described herein may be combined in different combinations than specifically described below to form different configurations of the device of the disclosure. The preceding non-limiting aspects of the disclosure, as well as others, are more particularly described below. A more complete understanding of the devices, assemblies, and methods can be obtained by reference to the accompanying drawings, which are not intended to indicate relative size and dimensions of the assemblies. In those drawings and the description below, like numeric designations refer to components of like function. Specific terms used in that description are intended to refer only to the particular structure of the embodiments selected for illustration in the drawings, and are not intended to define or limit the scope of the disclosure. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a section view of a triple-pane insulating glass unit with the middle portion broken away.

FIG. 2 is a section view of an exemplary spacer body.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE

An exemplary insulating unit is indicated generally by the reference numeral 2 in the accompanying drawings. Insulating unit 2 includes first 4 and second 6 outer panes and an inner third pane 8 supported by a perimeter spacer assembly 10. Panes 4, 6, and 8 can be glass or other materials such as transparent or semi-transparent polymer panes. The combination of outer panes 4 and 6 with spacer assembly 10 define an inner insulating chamber that can be filled with air or an inert gas. Inner third pane 8 divides the inner insulating chamber into first and second portions with the first and second portions being in fluid communication about the edge of inner third pane 8. In some configurations, an opening can be formed in third pane 8 to provide the fluid communication between the different portions of the inner insulating chamber. Inner third pane 8 can be provided substantially thinner (0.5 mm to 2.0 mm such as 0.7 mm for example) than panes 4 and 6 so that the thickness and weight of unit 2 is the same as or not much larger than a traditional double unit. First and second panes 4 and 6 can be provided in thicknesses of from 2 mm to 10 mm with exemplary thicknesses being from 3 mm to 4 mm and 9 mm to 10 mm. These dimensions are provided for purposes of examples. Other thicknesses can be used with similar proportions between the outer panes and the inner pane.

Spacer assembly 10 includes a spacer body 20 that is made from a solid or foamed resilient material. For example, the material can be made from primarily rubber, silicone, or EPDM. Spacer body 20 can have the composition of the spacer sold under the SUPER SPACER® trademark. The material can be permeable to moisture-vapor or impermeable. When the material is permeable, a desiccant can be disposed throughout spacer body 20. Depending on the moisture and gas permeability of the material used behind spacer assembly 10, spacer assembly 10 may include a vapor and gas barrier 22 applied to the outer surface 24 of spacer body 20. This barrier 22 may be a coating applied directly to spacer body 20 or as separate sheet 22 adhered to spacer body 20. Vapor barrier 22 may be a metal foil, plastic sheet, or metalized plastic film.

The flexible or semi-rigid foam spacer body 20 can be manufactured from thermoplastic or thermosetting plastics. Suitable thermosetting plastics include silicone and polyurethane. Suitable thermoplastic materials include thermoplastic elastomers such as Santoprene. Foamed silicone can be used. The advantages of the silicone foam include: good durability, minimal outgassing, low compression set, good resilience, high temperature stability and cold temperature flexibility. A further advantage of the silicone foam is that the material is moisture permeable and so moisture vapor can easily reach the desiccant material within the foam.

During the production of the foam, desiccant is added as a fill. The type of desiccant material used is typically 3A molecular sieve zeolites to remove moisture vapor and in addition smaller amounts of 13X molecular sieves, silica gel or activated carbon are used to remove organic vapors. Overall, the amount of desiccant material to be used should match the amount of desiccant material that is typically incorporated in a conventional sealed glazing unit.

The inner surface 34 of spacer body 20 must be UV resistant so that the material does not dust or flake after prolonged exposure to sunlight. To provide the necessary long term durability and depending on the material used, various specialized measures may be taken including adding UV stabilizers to the material and covering or coating the inner surface 34 of the spacer body 20. For durable plastic materials such as silicone, because of their excellent UV resistance, there is no need to specially coat or cover the inner face. Adhesive 26 connects spacer body 20 to the inner surfaces of panes 4 and 6. The adhesive can be a pressure sensitive acrylic adhesive. Pressure sensitive adhesive 26 is preapplied to opposite sides of spacer body 20. In selecting a suitable adhesive, there are five main criteria: high tack, shear strength, heat resistance, UV resistance, and non-outgassing. For the silicone foam spacer body although various adhesives can be used, the adhesive can be a UV resistant pressure sensitive acrylic adhesive.

Spacer assembly 10 is backed with a sealant 28. Sealant 28 can be a polyisobutalene-based sealant. Sealant 28 is disposed in a channel defined outwardly of spacer assembly 10 between first 4 and second 6 panes.

Spacer body 20 defines a channel that resiliently holds the outer edge portion of inner third pane 8. The channel include an open channel base 30 with a channel neck 32 that connects channel base 30 to inner surface 34 of spacer body 20. The center of channel base 30 is offset inwardly (reference dimension 40 in FIG. 2) within spacer body 20 from the centerline of spacer body 20. Before inner third pane 8 is placed into channel base 30, channel neck 32 has a width that is smaller than the thickness of inner pane 8 such that the shoulder portions 36 of spacer body 20 that define channel neck 32 resiliently engage inner third pane 8 to provide a compressive force. Shoulder portions 36 are disposed inwardly of channel base 30, outward of channel neck 32, and outward of inner surface 34. When closed back on inner third pane 8 shoulder portions 36 provide a closed, smooth appearance to inner surface 34. Inner surface 34 is visible so providing a closed, smooth appearance is a desirable feature to spacer body 20.

Channel base 30 can be provided in different cross sectional shapes such as circular, triangular, or rectangular. In the exemplary configuration, channel base 30 is oval is shape with a length dimension aligned with the height of spacer body 20. This allows the outer edge of panel 8 to be seated in the narrow end (or seat) of the oval directly in line with channel neck 32. Other shaped channel bases 30 can be provided with a seat aligned with neck 32 such as the corner of a triangle or, in other cases, a recess can be defined in a wall that defines the channel base. Channel base is centered with respect to the width of spacer body 20 but is offset (reference dimension 40) inwardly such that the center of the oval is offset toward inner surface 34 such that the distance between inner surface 34 and the inner portion of the oval is about half or less than half of the distance from outer surface 34 and the outer portion of the oval. The width of channel base 30 is greater than the thickness of inner third pane 8.

In some alternative configurations, a material can be carried within channel base 30. The material can be an adhesive or a desiccant matrix.

The closed shoulders 36 help retain the material within channel base 30.

In other exemplary configurations, spacer body 20 defines a plurality of spaced channels to retain a plurality of inner panes.

A die design is provided to form a solid or foam I.G. spacer with any shape void internal in the body of the spacer at one or several locations. For the initial application, the void is oval in shape in the upper/inner half (sight line side) of the spacer and centered left to right.

To form the spacer, one extrudes/pumps the desired profile and cures as designed to define spacer body 20 with an opening that defines channel base 30. Treat and laminate the profile as required for application. The spacer body 20 is then slit from inner surface 34 to the opening 30 to define the channel that receives inner third pane 8. The slitting application creates a groove of a desired width in the spacer to be in the center of the opening 30 created by the die and spacer profile. The groove becomes the channel neck 32 and can be much thinner than the thickness of pane 8. Slitting into the open channel base 30 allows a thin groove to be defined that compressively engages inner third pane 8. A pane of glass is inserted into the groove created and held in place by compression fit through the final spacer construction.

In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness, and understanding. No unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirement of the prior art because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed. Moreover, the above description and attached illustrations are an example and the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described. Throughout the description and claims of this specification the words “comprise” and “include” as well as variations of those words, such as “comprises,” “includes,” “comprising,” and “including” are not intended to exclude additives, components, integers, or steps.