Dow Corning's structural glazing sealants help Chile’s tallest building withstand historic earthquake

The company's glazing sealants prevented glass breakage during a magnitude 8.8 earthquake

October 04, 2011

Just a few weeks after construction was completed on the 190+ meter Torre Titanium La Portada, Chile’s tallest building at the time, the country was hit by a powerful earthquake that caused significant damage to roads, bridges and many older buildings in Santiago.

Thanks to the country’s strict building codes and the use of high-performance construction materials, the Torre Titanium La Portada withstood the temblor with only the loss of one decorative fixture.

Constructed to withstand the not-so-unexpected

To meet Chile's rigorous seismic design codes, La Portada was constructed to withstand a 9.0 earthquake using high-performance building materials, including Dow Corning structural glazing sealants for adhering the glass to aluminum frames.

For the curtainwall system, the use of four-sided structural glazing with silicone weatherseals was chosen jointly by the architect and the curtainwall manufacturer over traditional gasketed systems.

Dow Corning 983 Silicone Glazing and Curtainwall Adhesive/Sealant was used in shop glazing of several substrates. Dow Corning Primer C was required for the polyester- and fluoropolymer-coated pieces. Dow Corning 791 Silicone Weatherproofing Sealant was used on galvanized steel and other substrates. Insulating glass unit manufacturer Dialum used Dow Corning 982 Silicone Insulating Glass Sealant as a secondary sealant for the many large IGUs incorporated into the structure.

Project Overview

Torre Titanium La Portada, the tallest building in Chile, survived a powerful earthquake just weeks after construction was completed. The movement capability of Dow Corning brand structural glazing and weathersealing products helped prevent glass breakage during this seismic event.

Products

  • Dow Corning 983 Silicone Glazing and Curtainwall Adhesive/Sealant
  • Dow Corning 791 Silicone Weatherproofing Sealant
  • Dow Corning 982 Silicone Insulating Glass Sealant
  • Dow Corning Primer C

Key Participants

  • Senarq S.A./Abraham Senerman Lamas – Architect, General Contractor and Part Owner
  • Inmobiliaria Titanium – Building Owner
  • Accura Systems Chile – Curtainwall Contractor
  • Dialum – Insulating Glass Unit (IGU) Manufacturer

Passing an early – and major – test

The careful design and construction of Torre Titanium La Portada paid off much sooner than anyone could have anticipated. When the magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck, the tremors shook Santiago for 90 seconds, causing damage to roads, bridges and many older buildings. But the Torre Titanium La Portada weathered the quake with no structural damage and no glass breakage.

Flexibility was key

Buildings specifically designed for seismic events must have flexibility to move with the shaking and vibrating of the ground. In the Torre Titanium La Portada, Dow Corning structural glazing sealants provide that all-important flexibility between the glass and aluminum frame, along with a flexible silicone weatherseal at the glass edge.

Because La Portada has so many large windows manufactured using silicone sealants, glass breakage was avoided in part due to the flexible Dow Corning products used for the four-sided glazing and weathersealing. Each product was applied according to Accura Systems’ sealant design requirements for use in a seismic zone.

The show goes on

Fortunately for the residents of Santiago, many other modern buildings in the city also survived the earthquake without any significant damage. “Given that the Torre Titanium La Portada was the largest and tallest building in Chile at the time of the 2010 quake, we are extremely happy with its performance,” said José Valdes, president of curtainwall contractor Accura Systems Chile.

“We could not have expected anything better.”

For more information

For more information about the Dow Corning products featured in this case study, as well as our many other proven materials for the construction industry, visit the Dow Corning construction solutions page.

To speak to your nearest Dow Corning representative, click here.

         
 

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