It’s true, every window and door with glass in it comes with the sealed unit with about 95% argon gas in it. With today’s thermal performance requirements these products use every available technology to reach these increasingly challenging performance depths. The lower the U value the better the thermal performance.
Glazing has come a long way in the past 20 or so years. With frame materials like uPVC, warm edge spacer systems and glass coatings like lowE we have made large leaps in performance. But all these improvements also rely on something as simple as argon gas.
Older sealed units, although huge improvements over the old single glazed windows still were the victims of simple physics. All sealed units are made with an airtight seal that reduces thermal transfer through the unit. In older units they were sealed with only air inside them. The air would move inside the sealed unit as the exterior cold and interior warm fought for dominance. As cold air drops and hot air rises it would cause convective movement inside the unit resulting in thermal transfer, good but not great.
To reduce this convective movement in the unit it made sense to inject argon gas inside the sealed unit during fabrication. Why argon? Argon is an inert gas, heavier than oxygen. Found in our atmosphere at levels approximately 1%. Non-toxic, no smell, relatively inexpensive and clear it was ideal. The heavier gas reduces the amount of convective movement in the unit, in turn reducing the amount of thermal convection. Simply adding argon gas can improve thermal performance up to 10%.
by Terry Adamson
Westeck Windows and Doors Technical Director
Member Fenestration Canada
2nd VP-Board of Directors
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