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Finite element analysis (FEA) was used to predict stresses and strains in a 6 mm × 6 mm structural silicone joint on the edge of an overhead piece of glass. The project was undertaken because of a marketplace report that this particular type of joint was showing field leaks after 5–10 years of service. FEA was used to show the stresses and strains in the nominal joint design under negative wind uplifts. After a three dimensional FEA model of the skylight system was completed, the deformations in the model were used to load a series of two dimensional FEA models of the silicone bead. The two dimensional bead models were completed at repeated intervals down the span, providing a finer mesh for recovering stresses and strains. All stresses and strains in this model were shown to be well within the working range of the silicone sealant properties. It was concluded that the field leaks were not due to excessive strains and could possibly be due to installation issues, mechanical damage or improper joints resulting from construction tolerances.
Structural Silicone, Finite Element Analysis, non-linear structural materials, Overhead Glazing, skylights
Team Leader, Dow Corning Corporation, Freeland, Michigan
Sr. Technical Leader, Dow Corning Korea Ltd., Seoul,