News Aluminium composite panel Everything you need to know about the most popular material in the construction industry There is one thing we can all agree on within the construction industry, and it is that the popularity of aluminum composite panel has not stopped growing over the past few years. Its use has been expanding under the cover of energy efficiency, low price and construction possibilities. This type of material is specially designed for the construction of ventilated facades, their renovation or rehabilitation. It provides solutions that can be adapted to all fields of architecture. In this post you will know everything you need to know about the composite panel, how it is produced, its main characteristics, finishes, transformations and its most popular uses. ALUMINIUM COMPOSITE PANEL, WHAT IS IT AND WHICH ARE ITS MAIN USES How aluminium is obtained Aluminum is the third most common element found in the earth’s crust. In its natural state it is found in many silicates, and is extracted from the mineral known as bauxite, a sedentary rock with a high aluminium content. As a metal, its low density and resistance to corrosion, in addition to being a good conductor, make it an extremely useful element for many industrial processes. Currently, with China leading the way as a producer, it is estimated that around 60,000 metric tons are produced annually, 20% of which are recycled Main characteristics of aluminium Among its usual uses, and it could looks incredible, is the manufacture of mirrors (thanks to its optical properties), containers and cans or, of course, as aluminum foil for domestic use. It has multiple standards of alloys that fit to sectors as diverse as the automotive industry, telephony or construction. Aluminium can be easily combined with other materials to produce new materials such as those used in briks or in the composite panel. Composition and elaboration of the aluminium composite panel STACBOND composite panel is composed of two aluminium sheets and an inner thermoplastic base core that can hold mineral charge.It is specially designed for new construction ventilated facades as well as for renovation or rehabilitation. Its manufacturing standard is composed of an outer sheet of 5005 aluminium alloy and an inner sheet of 3105. It is divided into two groups depending on the mineral load of its core and can be incombustible or fireproof and (according to UNE 13501-1:2007) classified as A2-s1, d0 and B-s1, d0. The composite panel is produced by a continuous lamination process, in which a sheet of the material that will make up the core is extruded and compacted between two aluminium sheets that are unwound at the same time. Finally, the flatness of the material is compacted and perfected and a protective film is applied. Uses of the aluminium composite panel As I told you before, its most common use is in ventilated facades, a type of coating system in several layers that stands out for its effectiveness in solving the buildings insulation, thanks to the thermal behavior that the facade achieves. The most curious thing about the ventilated facade is that it allows the creation of a chimney effect between its layers. This chimmey generates a continuous ventilation in the chamber, maintaining a stable temperature that results in greater energy efficiency compared to more conventional systems. Thus, during the summer, the heat is evacuated and the circulating air is renewed. In winter, air circulation is slowed down, preserving the heat. A versatile, recyclable and quick to install product Since the aluminium composite panel began its journey in the construction sector, its characteristics have been improving until it has become a highly modifiable product, which admits different forms of assembly, colours, transformations and uses. As an example of its great versatility, we can find it in both minor works and interiors, combined with other materials to cover certain areas of a facade or as the main element in complicated transformations. Among its properties we find: High dimensional stability As a material, the composite panel does not present deformations in its dimensioning, whic means that the material remains stable whatever its size without losing its properties A multitude of finishes The wide range of finishes that the composite panel allows gives it a great aesthetic versatility. From solid to textured, mirror or wood type finishes, the composite panel can be adapted to almost any type of project Impact resistant Recent studies confirm the durability of aluminium in building facades due to its long life and resistance to wear and corrosion Fully recyclable The core material and cover sheets of aluminum composite panel can be recycled and reused. Due to its characteristics, aluminium can be recycled indefinitely Quick and easy assembly The hanging systems for the assembly of aluminium composite panels are designed to facilitate their assembly on facades in a quick and easy way. In the same way, in case that a cassette is damaged, it is easily replaceable Light as a feather The low density of aluminium makes it the ideal material for substructure systems on ventilated facades CUSTOMISED FINISHES How to paint the composite panel Depending on the finish that is sought, the panel can receive multiple types of treatments and coats. Among the most common finishing paints there are: PVDF (Fluorinated polyvinyl) It is the most popular finish for architectural applications. In a 70/30 proportion of resin it has a higher folding capacity, as well as a better resistance to ageing and protection against UV rays. FEVE (Lumiflon) FEVE is a type of coating with a very similar structure to PVDF, but with greater hardness and less flexibility. It allows to achieving a greater gloss range. HDPE (High Durability Polyester) HDPE paint, on the other hand, allows a high range of gloss and some special finishes such as textured surfaces. Solid, metallic and special finishes The aluminium composite panel allows a large number of different finishes. In addition, it can be adapted to any colour from the RAL colour chart. Over time, special finishes have been added with texture effects, imitating wood or concrete, or iridescent with special lighting effects. Solid and metallic colors The solid finishes are homogeneous and hardly suffer the variation of their tonality with the incidence of light. They provide a sensation of solidity to the facade and are easily combined with other finishes. Metallic colours, very similar to those used in the automotive sector, vary their shade with respect to the incidence of sunlight and are very popular for large facades and outstanding projects. Other special finishes Textured effects, matte or high-gloss surfaces, iridescent and wood finishes are some of the special finishes. To them we are constantly adding the new technology advances. IMPOSSIBLE SHAPES Currently, aluminum composite panel can be transformed in many ways. Among them are punching, which allows the creation of pointy-type shapes on the surface of the panel, creating drawings or forms; roller bending, to achieve curved shapes; CNC stamping and engraving to create reliefs; 3D shaping to project volumes on a flat surface, etc. This transformation capacity of the aluminium composite panel gives it a plus of versatility in order to being used for constructing risky and creative designs. It also makes it an ideal material to combine and make the areas of the facade which would be impossible with other kind of materials. Beyond the usual picture of a ventilated flat facade, we see how the panel can be used for other more striking projects and risky designs that contribute to give a special character to the buildings. Let’s see it in a little more detail: Punching and die-cutting The composite panel can be punched and die-cut with CNC. The result ranges from the creation of pointillist or artistic style patterns to complicated and detailed drawings on the facade Edging There are three types of edging: Simple, which hides the edging Double interior, hides the edge and part of the back Double outside, hides the edge and extends a flange that hides the joints with other panel sheets. Roller bending The panel can be easily bent following the minimum necessary bending radii. To do it, it is best to use bending machines with 3/4 rolls. By bending the product, columns can be covered, concealing the corners with a rounded appearance, etc. Stamping and engraving With more limitations than the previous transformations, we find that in the panel, through modifications in its depth, it is possible to make engravings creating forms without having to get to cut-die the panel 3D Forming The 3D forming process, besides of being used to manufacturing aluminium composite panel for hanging systems, can also be used to create projected three-dimensional surfaces Milling The milling of the panel gives results that differ from other types of processing such as punching and, of course, from the usual conception of the composite panel as a cassette-type tray. It can be made with CNC, with a wall saw or a portable one. The partial milling of the panel allows the subsequent folding of the pieces to give them creative shapes RESISTENT PANELS Depending on the composition of the interior mineral core of the composite panel, it will have some proper characteristics. For example, it will have a greater resistance in case of fire or a special malleability, a very useful aspect when making creative transformations of the facade. As has happened with the types of finish, as technology is moving forward, the composite panel has also developed new mineral cores that give it special resistance and make it more adaptable to what conditions. Composite panel types FR The FR (Fire Retardant) type panel, on the other hand, contains an interior fire retardant core made of thermoplastic resins with mineral charge. Its reaction to fire classification B-s1, d0 (according to UNE EN 13501-1:2007), makes it a coating material that fulfils most of the architectural applications A2 In the case of the A2 panel, this is a non-combustible panel composed of a mineral core developed to meet the highest regulatory requirements of fire classification Its reaction to fire classification A2-s1, d0 (according to UNE EN 13501-1:2007), makes it the ideal cladding solution for high-rise buildings and high occupancy.