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Technology

Aluminum Composite Panels

The first samples of composite panels appeared in 1968 and were developed by German companies Alusuisse and BASF. In 1969, a new material under the brand name Alukobond was used at sites in the cities of Germany. In the 80s, Alucobond panels were actively used in Europe, and in the mid-90s, they came to Russia together with ventilated facade technology.

In 2005, Russia opened its own production of ALCOTEK panels, and today, there are as many as 15 factories producing composite panels (Sielski pp. 57–65). Building materials such as aluminum composite panels appeared in the construction market relatively recently, about 20 years ago. For such a short history, he firmly occupied his niche. This is completely unsurprising because such panels have excellent performance characteristics that perfectly withstand the conditions of our climate (extreme heat in summer and frost in winter). In addition, he refers to the most modern and high-tech building materials and, therefore, enjoys such popularity in the construction of various structures throughout the civilized world.
Aluminum composite panels (ACP) – building-facing composite material. Panels consist of two pre-painted aluminum sheets up to 0.5 mm thick, between which is the middle layer – a polymer composition based on polyolefins. Integrating into a single structure, the raw materials make it possible to obtain a finished panel that has fundamentally different properties than the properties of the original components separately. Aluminum composite panels, due to their special properties, can serve as finishing and structural material.

The benefits

The aluminum sheet is covered with layers of fluorocarbon resin (PVDF), which, in addition to a wide range of colors, also has the strongest resistance against the negative effects of the atmosphere for more than 20 years without changing the color! For interior works, sheets with a polyester coating are used, which have an even more decorative effect. Due to the wide possibilities of technological processing of aluminum composite panels (alucobond), it is possible to use them to manufacture products of difficult form. For example, it is with a smooth and irregular curvature of the surface, with two-dimensional nonlinear curvature or three-dimensional structures of complex shape. By purchasing this material, you acquire a guaranteed reliable, economical and prestigious facade to your building that does not require care for it.

Aluminum composite panels are a popular material for architects to use in their creativity. Widely used material in the production of small architectural forms: pavilions, stellas, signposts, kiosks, navigation aids, and city design. Excellent insulation and protection from moisture, as the ventilated façade of composite panels is designed in such a way that moisture, when it hits the surface of the facade, is removed to the drainage, which excludes its contact with the insulation and walls of the house. The use of aluminum panels provides additional sound insulation for the walls of the building. Composite panels with a special filler do not support combustion and can be used even in petrol stations (Sielski pp. 57–65).

Due to the high quality of the special coating, aluminum composite panels, after a long time, will not burn out and will not lose their color under the influence of weather phenomena. Such material is easily cleaned with water from dust and plaque, which allows in the process of operation not to spend large funds and time for renovation of the facade. Composite panels are much lighter than other building materials used for finishing buildings. This allows you to reduce the load on the load-bearing walls and significantly reduce the overall weight of the structure. The undeniable advantage of ACP is the ability to choose almost any color.

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Since the installation of composite aluminum panels does not use wet processes, the ventilated facade of composite panels can be mounted at any time of the year. First of all, the geodetic survey of the building is carried out, and according to its data, brackets are put up, which are fastened to the building using anchor bolts. Next, before installing the aluminum panels, the slabs of the heater are mounted to the wall. And their surface is covered with wind and waterproof film (Campbell pp. 15–92). Thermal insulation boards and film are fixed with polymer dowels. Bearing construction is a set of brackets and guides, which are fixed on the wall with anchor bolts. The main profile is fixed vertically and mounted to the bracket. The drainage profile serves to interconnect the main profile. After the installation of insulation plates and the construction of aluminum load-bearing profiles, the installation of hinged cassette systems of automatic transmission is performed from the bottom up. The dimensions of the cassettes and the appearance of the lining (the location of the seams between the panels ) are determined by the building design. In this case, aluminum composite panels give the building a memorable and unique appearance due to the variety of textures and color solutions of this material.

The controversy

Since aluminum composite panels do not support combustion (G1 flammability class), their application in facing buildings belonging to a high fire class category (residential, educational, medical, etc.) has certain limitations. The face layer of the color coating of ACP can easily be scratched, so when facing exposed sections of the wall (e.g., basement floors), it is better to use other materials that are more resistant to possible vandalism. The main disadvantage of this material is its price, which may seem quite high. However, if you compare the cost of aluminum panels with elite facade materials (for example, scans and facing bricks), then they belong to the same price category. Aluminum composite panels have been fired tests and are inscribed in the technical certificates of such manufacturers of facade systems. These materials for fire tests have a fire hazard class K0, i.e., the safest for use in all types of buildings (residential, office, and industrial) (Campbell pp. 15–92). However, Aluminum composite panels related to the flammability group G1 can not be used without restriction and height in ventilated facades since even in this group, there is a material with a different objective fire hazard on the facade, since GOST 30244, which establishes the combustibility of materials, does not allow for an objective differentiates the composite by this criterion.

For example, Aluminum composite panels are used in the face or front of buildings, used for embedding the entrance groups of shops and shopping centers, and for facing the entrance of residential buildings. Besides this, the scope of application of aluminum composite panels in outdoor advertising is very wide: signboards, signposts, light boxes, pillars, pillows, and stellas. A wide color palette, high glossiness, unobtrusive colors, plasticity, and, at the same time, high structural strength makes it possible to use aluminum composite panels in interior design (Davis, p. 66). Aluminum composite panels produce various forms and purpose elements of interior advertising, advertising structures, exhibition and display stands, as well as a large number of various small forms of advertising. In the event that the idea of a designer or designer is bright but difficult to implement, aluminum composite panels – are just a godsend. They easily imitate a mirror, a tree, or a stone. Aluminum composite panels are used in the manufacture of refrigerated chambers and industrial refrigerators due to good thermal stability, anti-corrosion properties, and moisture-proofing properties of the composite. Panels made of aluminum composite are used in the production of special equipment. Due to the resistance to the effects of climate, panels are made: kungs, cabins, and interior trim.

Conclusion

This material is perfectly suited for the implementation of the most daring solutions in the construction and reconstruction of objects of various purposes – offices, residential buildings, shopping centers, gyms, gas stations, etc. Aluminum composite panels are distinguished by high consumer qualities: incombustibility, reliability, durability, and originality of color solutions and coatings. They have been tested and have all the necessary documents for use in the construction of high-rise buildings, namely, fire certificates and technical certificates.

Works Cited

Davis, J. R. “Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys.” Light Metals and Alloys, 2001, p. 66, doi:10.1361/autb2001p351.
Campbell, F. C. “Aluminum.” Manufacturing Technology for Aerospace Structural Materials, 2006, pp. 15–92, doi:10.1016/B978-185617495-4/50002-0.
Sielski, Robert. “Research Needs in Aluminum Structure.” Ships and Offshore Structures, vol. 3, no. 1, 2008, pp. 57–65, doi:10.1080/17445300701797111.

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