CERRITOS, Calif.—R.D. Abbott Co. Inc. is working with two of its supplier partners to explore ways to advance architectural sealing technology.
The Cerritos-based full service supplier of materials and other services to the rubber industry is working with Arlanxeo Holding B.V. and Cancarb Ltd. to use new rubber glazing compounding know-how to try to improve the cost efficiency, processability and durability of the architectural sealing.
Rick Ziebell, R.D. Abbott vice president of technology, said the maker of the seals will be able to supply seals that have enhanced physical properties, long-term permeation resistance and improved static charge dissipation. Likewise, the end users will receive a product that is longer lasting, energy conscious and budget-friendly.
"The demands of energy efficiencies in fenestration in homes and offices is playing a very important role," Ziebell said. "We see this in Low E-type designs for glass windows and doors."
There are barriers, he said, that make it difficult to bring to the market these fundamental improvements. Most prominently, in producing architectural seals it's always been necessary to juggle the three properties of strength, ease of processing and high physical properties. It's normally been possible to satisfy one or two of the properties, but never all three.
"For the first time in some of the evaluations we're running, we see that we are able to utilize the technology of Arlanxeo's Keltan EPDM line and Cancarb's Thermax N-990 carbon black line to arrive at formulations that give us all three of these things," Ziebell said.
The three companies tackled this fundamental problem to try to make it easier for the construction industry and the general public to choose Low E solutions for windows and doors, according to Ziebell. There are studies, he added, showing that there are about 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that are produced in the U.S. alone each year because of the losses associated with buildings being heated or cooled. The studies claimed that the CO2 losses were greater than the amount put into the air from cars, planes and trains.
"The next big CO2 footprint reduction is fenestration, with high efficiency windows and doors, multiple pane windows and glazing," Ziebell said.
A 10 percent improvement in sealing capability would reduce CO2 emissions by 4 million tons a year, but he said the main barrier to adoption is cost. E windows are expensive and there's a push back against regulations that would require such improvements. "Our small part is making something that is strong, process friendly and economically efficient that will hopefully lower those barriers," the R.D. Abbott official said.
One of the most expensive aspects of the design is the architectural gaskets, where rubber is one of the main components when placing windows into a frame. "If that gasket fails in some way over time, it's possible that the window glazing will fail, and the window will come out," he said. "If that's 30 stories high, that can be a bad day for somebody."
The Keltan EPDM rubber is naturally resistant to UVs and weathering, so Ziebell said these are lasting sealing solutions. What they found through their experiments was that they could increase the filler loading by a ratio of 50 percent Thermax N-990 carbon black to common forms of clay fillers.
"In doing so, we were able to maintain strength and improve processability of the rubber compound," Ziebell said.
And the selective grades of Keltan gave them the ability to maintain the physical properties to meet both the ASTM DC 864 and Euro DIN 7863-1 specifications that are vital standards to meet in construction and architectural applications.
"We were able to find the optimum experiment runs that met those requirements and let us push the amount of filler loading possible from around 120 to 180 parts of filler," he said. "In doing so, we drive the cost of the compound down, the processing performance up, and maintain physical properties to meet these key specifications."
Consequently, if they can extrude a material faster and more efficiently and the cost of the material is lower, then the partners will have helped bridge the economic difference that is a barrier to implementation while keeping performance up.
With the high energy efficient doors and windows, the consumers will recoup the upfront cost in energy cost savings. And if R.D. Abbott, Arlanxeo and Cancarb can lower that initial price point, Ziebell said it is more likely that customers will install these products.
All the products used in the experiment are commercially available, he said, so any custom mixer or fabricator interested in the technology can buy the individual components and mix them themselves. R.D. Abbott also has worked with customers interested in the technology in customizing it to individual situations.
"With rubber, there's always some customization that you have to take for every single process, and we can assist in these areas," Ziebell said. "Whether it's a processing aid or a cure system, we always have to manipulate things to meet the specific needs of that customer's fabrication process. So we work with our customers to deploy the technology."