Thermal Break – A simple Guide on what it is and the benefits that it offers

A thermal break explanation

What is a thermal break?

Nowadays, manufacturers make metal windows and doors from Aluminium, steel, or bronze. The reason for that is the elements above contain structural strength compared to other solutions. Still, this feature is like a coin with two sides. It has a disadvantage too. The mismanaged energy efficiency is what we are talking about because metals conduct heat efficiently, and the thermal break is the solution. A solid metal frame would accumulate heat on a hot day and conduct it in your room like a radiator. On the contrary, during a cold day, you would be losing heat outdoors through your frames. 

We explained all of the above because it is the exact moment when thermal break enters the game to change it once and for all. 

Manufacturers came up with a new technology to tackle this problem forever. The technology is innovative and beautifully solves the problem. An insulating barrier between the inside and outside of the window frame is what we call today a “thermal break.” In short terms, it is a barrier that prevents the phenomenon of conducting heat and cold that we described above. 

A general perspective and a physical perspective on thermal break

From a general perspective, it may sound more of a negative implication to a layman or the unawares, but it positively impacts doors and metal windows. 

A thermal barrier or thermal break is a low thermal conductivity material from a physical perspective. It is placed in an assembly to reduce or prevent the flow of thermal energy between conductive materials.

When it comes to metal doors and metal-framed windows, a thermal break is essentially a barrier in the conductive element with a material of low thermal conductivity. That stops the conduction of heat through the metal framing and the installation’s outer side.

The ‘broken’ aspect here is via a thermal insulator. The insulator serves as a protective mark against thermal transfer. Whether cold or heat, extreme conditions of these two do significantly affect the commodity of a building. 

In the same way, we buy heaters or AC’s, thermally broken systems can add quality to our lives at our workplaces or inside our homes. 

Why is a Thermal Break Important?

Thermal Break technology is essential when it comes to metal framing systems. The reason for that is simple. It has the ability to separate the frame into two different interiors and exterior pieces joined with a less conductive material.

The “break” in the metal ensures the system achieves modern thermal performance values while reducing temperature transfer across the framing system. 

The concept of a thermal break is comparable to the one of a double or triple glazed unit. The break is like a barrier against heat loss, and the only way to achieve that is by introducing a low conductive material to the system makeup.

We find the same concept in insulated glass panels like double glazing. There is a gas that serves as a barrier filling spacer bars. In framing, there is a thermal break. 

Thermally broken systems provide several benefits over non-thermally broken systems. Most experts state that the primary difference is “improved overall thermal performance over traditional non-thermally broken systems.” 

More reasons on why a thermal break is vital

A thermal break is vital because it can:

  • conduct extremities of temperatures like heat, cold, and noises a thousand times slower than regular Aluminium.
  • Act as an excellent and effective flame retardant.
  • Add the much-needed layers of security to a building.

The thermal break systems are easy and low on maintenance, long-lasting, extremely durable, and non-corrosive.

 According to Cowboy Channel, the global Thermal Break Frames market is anticipated to rise at a considerable rate during the forecast period between 2021 and 2026.


A thermal break explanation

The Relationship Between Thermal Performance and a Thermal Break 

You will experience high heat loss levels through the framing if a metal frame does not have a thermal break in it. That will reduce the Uf value of the system or the thermal performance of the frame. Subsequently, that will decrease the overall thermal performance of the window/door or what we call the Uw value.

In most cases, achieving a project’s thermal performance requirements will be impossible if you do not use a thermally broken window/door system. 

The modern thermal performance requirements suggest clearly that a thermally broken frame should be used for buildings in conjunction with an insulating glass unit with Ug value 1.1 W/m2K as a minimum to achieve the regulation standards. 

Where Should You use Thermally Broken Systems?

A thermally broken system is a must for usable and warm environments. Deciding to use a non-thermally broken framework to an internal space can freeze the internal framing during colder months.

The phenomenon would translate into mold and dampness to build upon internal building finishes such as natural wood flooring and curtains.

In short, everyone should use thermally broken systems anywhere where there is a climate difference on either side. It could be between inside and outside or between living space and an indoor swimming pool environment. 

Thermal Breaks in Aluminium Framing

Almost all of the aluminum framing systems have a complete thermal break within them because these are modern systems. Still, everyone can double-check the system to ensure that the aluminum system is highly insulating and fully thermally broken. 

How can one tell if a system is fully thermally broken? 

The answer is simple: by a framing cross-section or looking at the system’s thermal performance values. 

If the system shows a Uw value of 1.5 W/m2K or better, you are sure that it has a thermal break. 

Thermal Breaks in Steel Framing

Steel systems are a more conventional framing material. Many of these systems available on the market are systems that people developed many years ago. 

We are referring to the period before modern lawmakers put thermal performance requirements into place. That legitimates the existence of many steel systems available that are non-thermally broken.

Engineers should approach careful consideration when specifying steel and architectural metal framing systems. By doing that, they can ensure that these systems are fully thermally broken and can give the thermal performance they need for their project.

How can you tell if the chosen system has a thermal break or not?

By investigating the thermal performance data given and looking at the section drawings. 

Finding the best machinery means maximizing your efficiency. 

Starlight Corp is a company that knows aluminum extrusion and processes related to it in detail. That is why we provide innovative tools and solutions to let the industry’s different actors maximize their efforts and productivity. 

When it comes to thermal break processes, the machinery makes a huge difference too. The thermal break assembly machines offer additional value to the thermal break process and the industry due to our 10+ years of experience.