Dow Corning demonstrated a very interesting glass bonding technique at the annual international conference called GlassCon Global. Co-authors gave a detailed overview of advanced bonding techniques used in the Airborne America San Diego skydiving tunnel – an extreme-sport facility for those who want to skydive without jumping from an airplane. The presentation described the engineering analysis, design of the adhesive attachment system, and the testing of the adhesive for validation,

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Co-author Charles Clift, President, Director and Senior Principal at Curtain Wall Design and Consulting, Inc. said the project showed how the design community working closely with product development engineers can take advantage of new material properties. It also showed the science behind a new adhesion technology used for meeting a structure’s design requirements.

The day before, Jon Kimberlain, Dow Corning application specialist,  presented his study, “Analysis of Stress Distribution in Structural Silicone Glazing Joints.”

“The design of structural silicone glazing joints to resist windloads is traditionally calculated based on silicone bite, using a simplified equation that considers an average stress distribution in the sealant,” Kimberlain said. “This study examines using finite element analysis (FEA) to evaluate stress distribution in the sealant as a function of sealant bite and thickness, and demonstrates the importance of the sealant geometry on the local stress distribution.”

GlassCon Global is a conference that encourages industry collaboration and communication by providing a practical, educational forum where glass professionals can expand their knowledge in a continually evolving technical environment. Exhibitors and attendees can share ideas, visions and new technologies with industry professionals and experts from all areas of the architectural glass and glazing industry.

Dow Corning is collaborating with industry professionals around the world to develop solutions to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, offer long-lasting solutions and excellent technical support. The company’s building solutions include proven materials for structural and protective glazing, weatherproofing, insulating glass, window and door fabrication, and building materials protection, as well as innovations for high-efficiency insulation, LED lighting, thermal management systems, and the incorporation of photovoltaic cells and solar panels into building design.

Setting up to use the glass bonding technique for the Airborne America San Diego Skydiving Tunnel

Setting Up the Glass for the Airborne America San Diego Skydiving Tunnel

“This is a very unique structure that features a glass tube constructed from stacked, curved sections,” said Dow Corning Construction Industry Scientist Larry Carbary, one of the co-presenters. “The interior is free of mechanical hardware, and the panels are affixed with high-strength silicone adhesive technology to produce smooth glass walls.”

Glass bonding technique using gecko foot attachments

Closeup of the Gecko Foot Attachment

“Engineering the project around the design loads resulted in a ‘gecko foot’ attachment system at the corner intersections of the curved glass, which is built to withstand the wind pressure loading during the tunnel’s operation, as well as movement from seismic events.”