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The Science Behind Impact Resistance: How VTECH Skylights Ensures Safety

July 10, 2024

The Science Behind Impact Resistance: How VTECH Skylights Ensure Safety

When it comes to skylights, safety is of paramount importance. VTECH Skylights, a pioneering name in the industry, has taken the concept of impact resistance to an entirely new level. We have set a new standard for robustness and security that stands unrivaled.

In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the remarkable science behind VTECH Skylights' remarkable impact resistance capabilities, unveiling the rigorous testing and innovative technology that underpin its impressive performance.

Understanding Impact Resistance In Skylights

In the realm of skylight design, the term "impact resistance" holds significant weight – it encapsulates the critical ability of skylights to withstand and repel external forces that might otherwise compromise their structural integrity. Impact resistance is not merely a desirable trait; it is a vital attribute. It ensures the safety of occupants, the longevity of the skylight, and the overall integrity of the building.

Understanding the Threats

Skylights are exposed to a myriad of potential impact sources, ranging from natural elements to unforeseen events. One of the most pressing concerns is the impact of debris carried by high winds. This is particularly the case during severe weather events like hurricanes and storms.

Windborne debris, propelled at high velocities, can pose a significant threat to traditional skylights. This debris can achieve speeds of 130-160 mph (210 kph to 260 kph). Thus, they can cause breakage or rupture and leading to catastrophic consequences.

Other threats include falling objects, such as tree branches or hailstones, which can strike skylights with considerable force. In industrial or commercial settings, tools, equipment, or even unintentional human contact can also subject skylights to impact forces.

Therefore, the skylights’ ability to resist such impacts is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of occupants and the structural soundness of the building envelope.

The Science Behind Impact Resistance

Impact resistance in skylights is not a simple attribute but a result of meticulous engineering, innovative materials, and rigorous testing. Manufacturers like VTECH Skylights have embraced cutting-edge technologies and materials to enhance impact resistance, pushing the boundaries of skylight design to new heights.

We use technologies like:

  • Series Seamless Self-Flashing Glazed Skylights (SSF)
  • Series Curb Mounted Glazing (CAP), and
  • Series Curb Mounted Glazed Skylights (CMC).

These technologies help us manufacture LMI resistant-insulated glass that has a large and small missile impact resistance. The Miami-Date County Department of Regulation and Economic Resources (RER) has provided us with a notice of acceptance for our high-end materials and impact resistance.

At the heart of impact resistance lies the use of advanced materials, such as laminated glass and fortified frames. Laminated glass, often comprised of multiple layers of glass fused together with interlayers, serves as a formidable barrier against impact.

When subjected to force, laminated glass may crack or break, but the interlayers hold the shattered pieces together, preventing the glass from shattering into dangerous shards. This intrinsic safety feature not only minimizes the risk of injury but also maintains the skylight's integrity, preventing the intrusion of external elements.

In addition to specialized glazing, skylight frames are constructed with durability and impact resistance in mind. Reinforced frames, often composed of materials like aliphatic polyurethane, provide robust support and structural stability. These frames are engineered to absorb and distribute impact forces, minimizing the risk of frame deformation or detachment from the building structure.

Rigorous Testing Protocols

Ensuring the impact resistance of skylights requires subjecting them to stringent testing protocols that mimic real-world scenarios. One notable test, the TDI Product Evaluation, involves propelling standardized projectiles at varying speeds and angles to simulate the impact of windborne debris. These projectiles can include objects like wooden 2x4s or metal spheres. The skylight's ability to withstand these impacts without compromising its integrity is a testament to its impact resistance capabilities.

The Significance for Building Safety

The importance of impact resistance in skylights extends beyond the realm of product performance. It directly contributes to building safety and occupant protection. Skylights that lack proper impact resistance are vulnerable to breaches.

They may allow water, debris, or even intruders to enter the building envelope. This compromises the structural integrity of the building, leads to potential water damage, and poses safety risks to occupants.

In contrast, skylights with exceptional impact resistance provide a reliable barrier against external threats. They remain intact and continue to function as intended even after exposure to considerable impact forces. This inherent robustness ensures that the skylight fulfills its dual role of bringing natural light indoors while maintaining a secure and protective environment.

Unveiling Impact Resistance Testing

At VTECH Skylights, our commitment to excellence is not just a statement. It is a core principle that guides every facet of design and manufacturing. One of the key factors that set VTECH Skylights apart is its uncompromising dedication to impact resistance, a critical attribute for skylights in regions prone to severe weather conditions.

To put their impact resistance claims to the test, VTECH Skylights subjects its skylights to a series of rigorous evaluations that simulate real-world scenarios. In a remarkable demonstration of engineering prowess, an 8' wooden 2x4 is propelled at speeds exceeding 50 feet per second. This replicates the formidable debris propelled by hurricane-force winds. Striking the skylight with precision, the wooden projectile aimed to challenge the integrity of the design.

A Resolute Barrier Against Nature's Fury

In the test, the wooden 2x4 makes contact not once, but twice. It has an initial impact in the center, followed by a blow to the corner. However, the results are nothing short of astonishing. Our skylight remained steadfast, with no penetration or compromise of its structure. This remarkable resistance to impact is a testament to VTECH Skylights' unwavering commitment to safety and durability.

The test's innovation doesn't end there. VTECH Skylights took the assessment further by subjecting the skylight to pressurization. The skylight, installed in an air-tight configuration over a pressure chamber, was subjected to both positive and negative pressures.

This stimulated the dynamic forces experienced during a powerful hurricane. This cyclic pressurization, repeated a staggering 4,500 times over an extended period, was aimed to replicate the relentless onslaught of wind and atmospheric forces that a skylight may encounter in the real world.

A Seal of Approval: TDI Product Evaluation

The effectiveness of VTECH Skylights' impact resistance capabilities is further underscored by third-party validation. A TDI (Texas Department of Insurance) Product Evaluation Report sheds light on the formidable protective attributes of VTECH Skylights' products.

The evaluation unequivocally affirms that VTECH Skylights' 4x4 CMC Hurricane Polyurethane Glass Skylights, specifically designed to be impact-resistant, meet TDI's stringent criteria for safeguarding against windborne debris. These criteria apply not only to inland areas but also extend to the more exposed seaward zones.

Manufacturing Excellence: The Key to Structural Integrity

While robust design and impact resistance are hallmarks of VTECH Skylights, the importance of proper manufacturing processes cannot be overstated. The skylights are manufactured with the right material to be securely mounted to a wood curb. It requires meticulous attention to detail during the manufacturing process.

Following our innovative technology’s recommended installation instructions and adhering to the TDI Product Evaluation Report’s stipulations is paramount to ensuring the skylights' optimal performance and long-term reliability.

In Conclusion

The science behind impact resistance in VTECH Skylights stands as a testament to the company's unwavering commitment to safety, durability, and innovation. Through a comprehensive approach that combines:

  • Advanced testing methodologies,
  • Cutting-edge technology, and
  • Stringent quality control,

VTECH Skylights has succeeded in redefining the standards of impact resistance in skylight design. As the industry continues to evolve, VTECH Skylights remains at the forefront, setting new benchmarks. We have ensured that occupants can experience natural light without compromising on security – even in the face of nature's most formidable challenges!

Call us today to learn more about our work or start your project right away!

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