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Composite cladding solutions COMMENT


Dr Amin Emami from 3A Composites looks at why aluminium composite materials are popular with architects for rainscreen cladding, and at the robustness of testing regimes in the UK post-Grenfell


luminium composite panels (ACP) or alternatively aluminium composite material (ACM), are flat panels consisting of two thin coil-coated aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium core. These cores can be of combustible, fire retardant or non-combustible material. ACMs are often used to clad the external facades and soffits of buildings, as well as insulation and signage. ACMs are classified as lightweight materials. This is an important advantage when it comes to handling in both workshops and installation, as well as reducing transportation weight. In comparison with other metal-based building materials, panels created using this sandwich construction and manufacturing


A ADF FEBRUARY 2019


process are exceptionally smooth and flat, qualities which make them of particular interest to architects. Another major advantage of the process is that the thin metal outer layers can be ‘coil coated’ in a wide range of precisely reproducible coatings/lacquers. As well as being lightweight, flat, and durable, the material also offers a wide selection of surface finishes. This makes for easy manual bending to create freeform and three-dimensional shapes and geometry, by using special routing and folding techniques.


What are the different types of ACM?


It is essential to distinguish between different aluminium composite materials. According to MHCLG (Ministry of Housing,


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