Aluminium composite panels (ACP) are built by inserting a soft, shock absorbent core (typically plastic) sandwiched between two layers of aluminium sheet metal. The purpose of this is to combine the shock absorbing qualities of the soft inner core while the lightweight but relatively durable outer aluminium protects it. And one its main uses is as aluminium composite panel cladding for buildings.
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Lightweight and Durable
Aluminium composite panels are often used as cladding for buildings, which protect the structure from the effects of weather. It may also serve a secondary purpose as decoration. They are also used for decorative purposes (façade). Because colours are anodized into the metal they do not chip and peel like regular paint does, which makes it last a lot longer.
Unlike timber cladding that can decay over time and plastic that is susceptible to weathering, aluminium composite panel cladding are highly resistant to heat, chemical corrosion and physical abrasion. Steel sheet cladding, while sturdy and weather-resistant, is heavy. Glass is both heavy and fragile.
Aluminium composite panels are also used to divert rainwater and wind (called element controls) away purpose of preventing these elements from entering the structure. Because concrete is porous water easily seeps in, causing the steel beams inside to rust and expand. This not only weakens the metal but can cause the concrete to crack.
ACP is usually found as cladding for:
- Curtain walls.
- Internal and external walls.
- Outdoor furniture.
Gold-tinted aluminium composite panel cladding of the European Court of Justice. Picture courtesy of Quartier Européen Nord, Kirchberg.
Main Advantages of Aluminium Composite Panel Cladding
The following are the main advantages and highlights of ACP cladding and the respective contributing component:
- Lightweight yet sturdy (aluminium and plastic core)
- Chemical/heat/UV resistant (aluminium plates).
- Sound proofing (polyurethane, polyethylene cores). Also helps reduce metallic clanging.
- Thermal insulation (polyurethane, polyethylene cores). Helps normalize temperature inside building.
- Good choice of colours on a smooth surface that last (anodized aluminium).
- Easily installed.
- Easily fabricated to fit many shapes and sizes.
Aluminium can also be recycled with little to no loss in its quality. Recycling aluminium not only saves energy costs (about 90%) but mining the bauxite ore containing the metal is deleterious to the environment. Recycling also leaves a far smaller carbon footprint and is far cleaner for the environment.
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12 Apr 2022