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How does Thermoplastic spacer (TPS) Improve the Sealing System?

by KE JIAYI 08 Jun 2023 0 Comments

Insulating glass has become increasingly common in buildings due to its superior energy-saving capabilities. The criteria for the energy-saving qualities of insulating glass are gradually rising in tandem with a steady enhancement of building energy-saving standards & the promotion and use of passive structures.

With the widespread use of low-E glass and the addition of inert gases like argon and krypton to the insulating glass, the warm-edge spacer is increasingly replacing conventional aluminum spacers. Let’s move on to discuss the topic in detail.

What is TPS?

The acronym TPS stands for THERMOPLASTICS SPACER. It employs unique butyl rubber as an auxiliary material and is packed with desiccant thermoplastic spacers, which can completely replace conventional aluminum spacers. TPS is a new kind of insulating glass warm-edge system.

TPS is not a recent invention. The German Kommerling Group developed it initially and used it commercially. Dalian Huaying introduced China's first TPS insulating glass production line in 2010, realizing the integration of China's insulating glass warm edge technology with the rest of the world. The first insulating glass using TPS technology was created in 1974.

How does the environment impact insulating glass?

The gas in the hollow cavity of the open glass is constantly in a condition of thermal expansion or contraction, mainly due to the frequent fluctuations in ambient temperature and pressure, which places the sealant under sustained stress. Applying this force to the conventional double-channel sealing system will result in the sealant's deformation and loss of function, and the environment's moisture will continue seeping from the edge of the hollow glass into the hollow cavity.

The pace at which water vapor enters the hollow cavity and the filled argon gas escapes will increase as the sealant ages due to the impacts of ultraviolet radiation, water, and other corrosive gases in the environment (Google's definition of "corrosion").

Such water vapor penetration can take place at any time. Due to the ongoing adsorption of water molecules, the drying agent in the edge sealing system (Google's definition of "drying") would eventually lose its ability to absorb water vapor, leading to an increase in the water vapor content in the hollow cavity of the hollow glass. The energy-saving effect is diminished when the seal fails.

The glass on both sides of the glass will be subjected to the action of the other cavity to cause additional stress, resulting in butyl butadiene being produced in the three-glass, two-cavity hollow glass that is frequently used in passive room glass of the new energy-saving building design. As a result of the glue's distortion, the initial seal's effectiveness is diminished, and more water vapor can pass through, hastening the insulating glass failure and highlighting the thermoplastic spacer's superior sealing capabilities.

What factors affect the insulating glass life?

The industry has taken notice of the service lifespan of the insulating glass employed for curtain walls, which are a significant component of the building. The applicable industry standard, "Causes and Service Life of Insulating Glass," states that the expected service life of insulating glass must be at least 15 years.

The average Chinese producer hesitates to guarantee a 10-year warranty because the overall sealing lifespan of domestic insulating glass is still somewhat short. As a result, we are still far from meeting the standards and building use criteria.

As was already noted, the caliber of the edge materials (including desiccant, spacers, and sealant) and the insulating glass manufacturing technique directly affect the glass’s service life. The environment influences the insulating glass's service life during installation and use.

What other factors besides environmental factors affect the insulating glass's service life? The caliber of the edge seal has a strong bearing on how resilient it is for insulating glass. The essential factors for low water vapor usage are sealant and gas permeability.

Based on the level of insulating glass currently produced domestically, the main pathway for the passage of water vapor and gas, specifically the sealing material's water vapor and gas permeability, is poor coating adhesion to the glass and the spacer material.

Thermoplastic spacer test

In 1974, Komelin saw the creation of the first thermoplastic spacer (TPS) insulating glass system. After the 1990s, industrial production increased. Currently, more than 100 TPS production lines are operating worldwide. Many TPS insulating glass production plants are also running in China.

In 2011, the first production line went into operation. Thermoplastic insulating glass and a new generation of TPS product 4SG with structural strength were initially recognized and used in commercial buildings, structural curtain walls, buses, residential buildings, and automobiles (Google's definition of "structural strength" is provided).

In addition, the sealing system insulating glass is the first three-glass, two-cavity system to pass the EN1279.3 gas retention test, and its yearly argon leakage rate is 0.4%–0.5% respectively.

The National Glass Quality Supervision and Inspection Centre chose Comerlin to manufacture the 4SG product of the thermoplastic partition via Dow Corning silicone structural adhesive, just like the external sealant, to research and evaluate the performance of the insulating glass of the thermoplastic partition system and confirm its durability advantages.

An example of gas-filled insulating glass was created using Bystronic's fully automatic production process. Five standard cycles of testing were done in accordance with the GB/T11944-2012 standard's requirements for water vapor seal durability and gas seal durability.


According to theoretical study and test findings, thermoplastic spacers (TPS) are the latest insulating glass edge sealing materials. This insulating glass system can lengthen the insulating glass's sealing life and enhance the insulating glass's edge effect. It has to be strongly marketed.

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