Slimpact is a completely frameless impact system with maximum panel sizes of 5 feet wide by 10 feet high. The system has impact rating approval for Zone 3 and can handle design pressures of ±60 PSF.
As architects and owners demanded larger glass sizes with less framing, the glass industry responded with an array of structural glazing solutions that provided the desired sightlines and unobstructed views. However, stringent hurricane codes have made these traditional structural glazing solutions impossible in some areas, particularly in coastal areas of Florida.
Officials from Faour Glass Technologies recognized the demand for structural glazing products in hurricane zones and began developing a product that could meet impact codes. Five years later, the Slimpact frameless hurricane-impact system for the custom home and commercial market is pending approval from the Florida Building Commission.
“Up until now, what existed for these applications required large metal spans that obstructed the view and had a cumbersome look,” says Gina Gajraj, marketing coordinator, Faour Glass Technologies. “[In many locations that require hurricane glazing], owners have amazing water views and want to alleviate the obstruction of views. They want to have that seamless look,” Gajraj says.
Additionally, owners are building more custom homes in these areas and looking to use more elaborate glass facades. “That’s what started us on the road in that direction,” she says. “We were able to do these glazing systems that weren’t on the water, usually with butt glazing. And we thought, ‘How can we do this and make it hurricane-impact safe?’”
The design goals were fairly simple, says Angelo Rivera, partner at Faour Glass. “We wanted to have a system that would pass Zone 3 hurricane, large-missile impact testing, and we didn’t want it to require any metal. We wanted to achieve this just with the glass and the structural silicone joint,” he says.
Additionally, “we wanted the largest panel size possible with a glass make-up that would be the thinnest and most flexible,” Rivera says. With Slimpact, Faour Glass delivers a completely frameless impact system with maximum panel sizes of 5 feet wide by 10 feet high. The system has impact rating approval for Zone 3 and can handle design pressures of ±60 PSF, according to Faour officials.
Architectural Testing performed the Zone 3 hurricane tests that included large missile protection.
The company has tested several variations of the Slimpact product, providing options for architects and owners that include fixed windows, in-line multipanel window wall, neo-angle window wall, and radius flat segmented systems.Slimpact consists of two layers of 3/8-inch glass laminated with a DuPont SentryGlas interlayer, and one layer of ¼-inch glass on the exterior.
“The purpose of the ¼-inch lite was to provide the option of adding color or low-emissivity coatings. The coatings can be applied to that ¼-inch lite,” Rivera says.
Architectural Testing performed the Zone 3 hurricane tests that included large missile protection. During testing, the glass was hit with a large missile in three positions and then underwent hurricane cycle testing to ensure the system could remain intact under hurricane pressures, Gajraj says. The Slimpact products successfully passed the testing and are now awaiting final approval from the FBC at its next meeting, she says.
Choosing supplier partners was important in the development of Slimpact. “We work very well with DuPont [for the interlayer],” Rivera says, and the company chose M3 Glass Technologies as its glass fabricator.
“Alignment of [glass] edges is critical for the product. We needed to have a supplier that could consistently provide nice clean edges,” he says. “We will continue to get our glass from M3.”
Looking forward, Faour is developing additional Slimpact products, including a 12-foot-tall version. “We’re also looking at configurations that would include a 90-degree corner, as well a Dade County version,” Rivera says.
Watch video of the Slimpact testing process below.