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A thermal break is an element of low thermal conductivity placed in an assembly to reduce or prevent the flow of thermal energy between conductive materials.
In architecture some examples include the following:
- a thermal break is also a load bearing thermal insulation system used in reinforced concrete structures to form a thermal break between cantilever structures and internal floor.
- Double paned windows – the air or gas between the panes stops the conductive thermal energy from passing through the glass.
- Metal window or curtain wall framing – a separator material is sometimes used between the inner and outer frames to prevent the temperature outside to eventually transfer through the frame.
- Concrete work – a single row of CMU block is commonly set between the inner concrete slab and exterior concrete work to prevent the transfer of heat or cold through the slab.
- Garage doors – in some doors that have high R-rating insulation, a vinyl thermal break is used along the edges of each segment instead of rolled steel.
- Metal and Wood Framed Buildings - an insulation material installed on the roof, walls and floor prevents thermal short circuit creating the heat transfer through the framing material and controls when desired (winter/summer)resulting in energy savings.
- Metal Windows and Doors - By separating the frame into 2 separate interior and exterior pieces, and then join with a less conductive material temperature transfer is reduced.
- Windows and Doors - By separating the frame into 2 separate interior and exterior pieces, and then join with a less conductive material between temperature transfer is reduced.