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Weathering was a big topic of discussion during the Vinyl Material Council’s session during the 2017 AAMA National Fall Conference in October. A ten-year weathering study was launched by the Extended Outdoor Vinyl Profile Weathering Study Task Group, to be conducted by Associated Laboratories Inc. (ALI) on samples provided by participating AAMA Profile Certification Program licensees. More work on weathering and many other matters will progress in Orlando, FL this February during the 81st Annual AAMA Conference.

Outreach Initiatives

The VMC Marketing Committee (Chair: Gary Hartman [Chelsea Building Products]) reports developments on several fronts related to public information initiatives concerning vinyl.

The VMC Web Development Task Group (also chaired by Hartman) has been reactivated in the wake of the launch of AAMA’s new website. Initial activities will involve surveying the web pages of other material councils to see what they are doing. Future content additions, to focus on consumer-oriented information, will be coordinated with the Vinyl Institute. Additional task group participants are being sought.

The VMC Education Task Group (Chair: Mark DePaul [ENERGI Fenestration Solutions]) is also seeking more participants in its latest project to develop a white paper on the advantages of vinyl in the commercial building sector. A draft has been developed and is being updated with additional suggestions as they are submitted.

Industry Soundbites

The VMC Environmental Stewardship Committee (Chair: Tony Vella [Vision Extrusions]) reported on a wide range of industry activities and developments:

  • The Ventura (CA) City Council, while not specifically banning PVC windows, has been rejecting all project proposals involving vinyl that come before it.
  • The Healthy Building Network PVC Supply Chain Research Project is implementing a subscription research program on the PVC supply chain, including chlorine and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).
  • Concerns over “fumes” from vinyl windows has activated some Chicago residents, and the city is in the process of having a sample window tested.
  • FireSmart Canada, a non-profit organization consisting of emergency services, advocacy organizations and government agencies, that provides awareness and education aimed at reducing the risk of fire in Wildland-Urban Interfaces (WUI), has come down against the use of vinyl due to what they consider to be its high flammability score.
  • The Vinyl Institute reports that its Value Chain Outreach program, which delivers presentations to big box stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart) showing the sustainability of vinyl products, is being very well-received.
  • ENERGY STAR v7.0 is next but has not yet been funded. While initial concepts for v7.0 will be available in 2018, ENERGY STAR v6.0 will likely be around for some time. It is noted that ENERGY STAR in the U.S. is not being harmonized with ENERGY STAR Canada.
  • NFRC, where the “net zero” trend is being more regularly discussed, may be moving toward designs with a piece of thin glass being added within an IG unit to create a triple-glazed unit.

In other areas:

  • Four of the six scheduled tests have been completed under the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada Combustible Windows Project. These tests involved fiberglass without flame retardant, all-PVC casement/non-reinforced, all-PVC tilt-turn/reinforced, and aluminum with polyamide thermal break.
  • ASTM balloting for revisions to ASTM D4626-95(2015), Standard Practice for Calculation of Gas Chromatographic Response Factors, is open and is restricting the material that can be used in capstock to a maximum of 20 percent of the volume. Also, mandatory weathering requirements for vinyl profiles have been removed. Fenestration companies are not participating on the ASTM Task Group but were asked to contribute.

303, 1506 Updates Completed

The 303 Vinyl Profile Performance Standard Maintenance Task Group (Chair: Jeff Franson [Quanex Building Products]) informs that all ballot comments having been resolved and the updated standard is set to be published.

Also, the AAMA 1506 Vinyl Profile Heat Build-Up Task Group (Chair: Jeff Franson [Quanex Building Products]) reports work is complete on the update of AAMA 1506-04, Voluntary Test Method for Laboratory Heat Build-Up Effects on Fenestration Products, and a motion was made to publish.

Ten-Year Weathering Study Launched

The Extended Outdoor Vinyl Profile Weathering Study Task Group (Chair: Tony Vella [Vision Extrusions]) has approved a voluntary ten-year weathering test program. The study, to be conducted by Associated Laboratories Inc. (ALI) on samples provided by participating manufacturers, will check for color change and impact performance at 3, 5 and 10-year intervals at each of the three established exposure sites. Adding accelerated weathering testing will also be investigated.

The project is voluntary with those participating receiving the full set of raw data (with company names removed); an executive summary will be made available more widely. Approximately 130-140 samples are needed for an effective study. Profile samples for the study will be collected during established Profile Certification Program plant inspections of licensees. A sign-up form will be distributed to all AAMA Profile Certification licensees.

Abrasion Test Alternative Needed

The VMC Finishes Committee (Chair: Skip Gregorevich [Kalcor Coatings]) agrees with the Aluminum Material Council (AMC) Finishes Committee that, while an appropriate test to determine the abrasion resistance of organic coatings is desirable, there is a lot of variation between labs in the results of the current falling sand test (ASTM D968, Standard Test Methods for Abrasion Resistance of Organic Coatings by Falling Abrasive), and it does not appear to have the repeatability and precision to provide good data. Options being discussed for future direction include:

  • Eliminating the test in AAMA specifications
  • Fixing the test to increase its accuracy
  • Recommending a replacement or alternative test (although no good candidates have been identified at this time)

AAMA 613, 614 and 615 Update Status

Work continues with updating the 613-614-615 organic coatings series of standards. Among the current issues is the question of adhesion performance, wherein the documents define how to perform the test and the rating scale, but do not define the pass/fail criteria. It was agreed to add performance requirements of 4 for dry adhesion, wet adhesion and boiling water to AAMA 613, 614 and 615 (as applicable). This substantive revision is being balloted to the VMC Finishes Committee.

Accelerated Weathering Test to Be Enhanced

The VMC Alternative Accelerated Weathering Task Group (Chair: Tony Vella [Vision Extrusions]) continued its work in investigating whether there exists an accelerated weathering method that replicates outdoor weathering. Samples (4 replicates of eight materials) were comparatively tested at outdoor test sites in Florida, Arizona and Ohio for 24 months (with intervening color evaluations at 6 and 12 months), and in the laboratory where they were to be exposed to xenon and fluorescent UV for 2500 total hours.

The initial outdoor study has been extended for an additional two years. Meanwhile, a new accelerated weathering study is being proposed to include a better range of more diversely performing samples. This two-year study will follow ASTM D7869, Standard Practice for Xenon Arc Exposure Test with Enhanced Light and Water Exposure for Transportation Coatings, as used for testing automotive finishes, and will use fluorescent UV for 3500 total hours of exposure of white, beige, dark brown and laminated samples. Measurements will be taken at specified intervals.