LBNL Report Number
Vacuum glazing is a form of low-conductance double glazing using an internal vacuum between the two glass sheets to eliminate heat transport by gas conduction and convection. An array of small support pillars separates the sheets; fused solder glass forms the edge seal. Heat transfer through the glazing occurs by radiation across the vacuum gap, conduction through the support pillars, and conduction through the bonded edge seal. Edge conduction is problematic because it affects stresses in the edge region, leading to possible failure of the glazing; in addition, excessive heat transfer because of thermal bridging in the edge region can lower overall window thermal performance and decrease resistance to condensation.
Infrared thermography was used to analyze the thermal performance of prototype vacuum glazings, and, for comparison, atmospheric pressure superwindows. Research focused on mitigating the edge effects of vacuum glazings through the use of insulating trim, recessed edges, and framing materials. Experimentally validated finite-element and finite-difference modeling tools were used for thermal analysis of prototype vacuum glazing units and complete windows. Experimental measurements of edge conduction using infrared imaging were found to be in good agreement with finite-element modeling results for a given set of conditions. Finite-element modeling validates an analytic model developed for edge conduction.