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What is a Thermal Barrier?

  • Thermal barriers are made from resins that create a “thermal break” between the inner and outer surfaces of aluminum fenestrations. 
  • Thermal barriers reduce heat loss or heat gain through the aluminum.
  • Thermal barriers improve the U-value characteristics of finished systems.
  • Thermal barriers are about energy conservation, U-values and government codes
  • 70 percent of aluminum fenestration systems produced in North America contain a thermal break
  • Primarily used in colder climates to reduce heat loss
  • Increasing use of thermal barriers to reduce heat gain and also reduce heat loss
  • Developers, architects and designers are demanding better performance in terms of power usage
  • Stricter government regulations to reduce power usage in buildings to combat environmental concerns
  • Aluminum, if it is to retain its market superiority in terms of its structural integrity, will have to achieve better performance in terms of U-values
  • The use of thermal barriers will assist manufacturers to achieve improved LEED performance

Currently, there are two principal types of thermal barriers used in North America: polyamide thermal barrier strip and pour & debridge (P&D).

Polyamide Thermal Barrier Strips

  • Pre-extruded profiles made from polyamide with 25 percent glass-fiber
  • Locked in place in “pockets” extruded into two separate (inner and outer) aluminum extrusions
  • Enables finished assemblies with different finishes and colors on each surface
  • Aluminum extrusion pockets need to be “knurled” prior to insertion of the polyamide profiles – and “rolled” to create a structurally-secure finished assembly
  • The polyamide profiles can be supplied with ”sealing-wire” which give a reliable seal and enhanced shear strength when activated by heat e.g. – powder-coating
  • The aluminum extrusions can be finished either before or after installation of the polyamide strips

Pour & Debridge

  • P&D is the most widely used system for thermal barriers in North America
  • It is a polyurethane-based system
  • An Iso is mixed with a resin at the point of assembly and the mixture is poured into a barrier channel in the aluminum extrusion
  • After pouring and curing, the barrier channel is “debridged”
  • The debridging process creates the separation between the inner and outer surfaces
  • A mechanical locking system on the extrusion is recommended to eliminate possible problems with dry shrinkage