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Article
The markets: Construction (2015)

In the building and construction market, adoption of composite building materials has been slow, but "definitions" incorporated into the International Code Council’s (ICC, Washington, D.C.) revised (2009) International Building Code have encouraged architects and contractors to investigate their use, even in exterior, high-rise construction.

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Posted on: 1/12/2015
Source: CompositesWorld

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SFMOMA Fireshield cladding 1

A key 2014 composites in construction milestone was assed by Kreysler & Associates’ (American Canyon, CA, US), with the introduction of a new glass fiber composite cladding panel material, called Fireshield 285, which its designers say solves the riddle of fire-code compliance on high-rise structures. Panels can be merged to create large, seamless façades, such as this debut appearance in the sculpted 10-story façade on a new expansion at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Source: Kreysler and Assoc.

SFMOMA Fireshield cladding 2

The SFMOMA expansion’s Fireshield cladding will present a rippling horizontal texture said to be reminiscent of California’s San Francisco Bay just a few blocks away. Fabricated by Kreysler & Associates, the façade’s 700 panels have a skin thickness of only 4.8 mm and weigh, on average, only 24 kg/m2. Source: Kreysler & Assoc.

                        High Bullen exterior

A newer phenomenon in architecture is the use of composites to cost-effectively duplicate the aesthetics of legacy materials. A recent example is this exterior cladding project in the UK that transformed the picturesque High Bullen Hotel’s former tennis facility into its new Palazzo event pavilion, pictured here. The building’s exquisite stonework, done in keeping with the local architectural requirements, is actually the product of a unique multi-material composite sandwich panel construction process developed by Acell Industries Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland). Acell also replicated the look of slate in the building's composite roof sheathing. Composites were also used to create interior aesthetics in keeping with the style and luxury to which hotel guests ere accustomed (see next photo). Source: Acell

High Bullen interior

Acell fabricated from composites the Palazzo event space's interior walls and all of the decorative elements, including columns, statuary, and details of its domed ceilings. Source: Acell

Epitome foundation walls

Poured-concrete foundation walls have been the industry standard for residential homes in the U.S. for more than 100 years. But that could change with the introduction of patented Epitome composite foundation walls from Composite Panel Systems (CPS, Eagle River, Wis.). The wall system is fabricated by Fiber-Tech Industries Inc. (Cadillac, Mich.) using fire-retardant Modar, resin supplied by Ashland Performance Materials (Dublin, Ohio). The foundation wall concept consists of a foam-cored fiberglass composite panel with integral cavities for structural studs and mechanical installation. Shaped connection flanges on each panel enable attachment of adjacent panels. The wall was on track for compliance on the national level with the International Code Council’s (ICC) International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) by October 2014. Source: Epitome/CPS

                                                                        Inoutic pultruded window frame 1

A hot item in building architecture is the composite window frame, enabled by the complex profile-manufacturing capabilities inherent in the composites pultrusion process. Inoutic (Bogen, Germany), a member of the Deceuninck Group NV (Hooglede-Gits, Belgium), is at the forefront of composite window frame design and innovation, as evidenced by its recent award for a large, prototype window designed to open like a door, during Fensterbau 2014, a European trade show for windows, doors and facades. The window’s intricate, exacting frame profile (see next image) was pultruded by Deceuninck North America (Monroe, Ohio). Source: Deceuninck North America

                        Inoutic window frame 2

Deceuninck North America (Monroe, Ohio) pultroded the Inoutic window frame, using its trademarked Rovex technology. Rovex combines fiberglass rovings with a specially formulated two-component polyurethane resin from Bayer MaterialScience LLC (Pittsburgh, Pa.), based on Baydur PUL (pultrusion grade) resin, which includes proprietary bio-based materials and is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Source: Deceuninck North America

In the still-developing building and construction segment, composites adoption has been slow. Laudable efforts by the American Composites Manufacturers Assn. (ACMA, Arlington, VA, US) to modify the International Building Code (IBC) and a growing awareness of composites’ environmental sustainability through lifecycle analysis tools had previously earned the composites industry only small gains in what architects call the “building envelope.” Exterior decorative elements, such as cornices and columns, as well as window lineals, entry doors, skylights and light panels represented a beginning. But industry observers saw big opportunities for composites in wall panels, foundations, building cladding and roofing. In 2014, that door began to open, as architects responded to the International Code Council’s (ICC, Washington, D.C.) revised (2009) International Building Code, which now includes IBC Chapter 26, “Plastic,” and Subsection 12, “Fiber-Reinforced Polymer.”

A key 2014 milestone was Kreysler & Associates’ (American Canyon, CA, US) introduction of a new glass fiber composite cladding material, called Fireshield 285, which its designers say solves the riddle of fire-code compliance on high-rise structures. The cladding panel system recently passed one of the construction industry’s most stringent fire tests, NFPA 285, which involves testing a full-scale mockup of a multi-story façade system to gauge its flame-spread characteristics. Kreysler & Associates believes its cladding is the first to pass muster under NFPA 285. Company president William Kreysler says the patent-pending process involves a “proprietary blend of synthetic resins and natural aggregate that provides an attractive but extremely durable, environmentally efficient and highly fire-resistant product.”

Fireshield reportedly turns designers loose to use the light weight and versatile plasticity of shape and texture afforded by composites reinforced with glass fiber or carbon fiber to create large façades of almost any shape, contour and texture, yet also meet all IBC requirements. Kreysler notes, “Shapes that have never existed outside of a computer model are now possible, both unique and repetitive designs.”

Panels can be merged to create large, seamless façades, such as the sculpted 10-story façade (see photo at left) on a new expansion at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). The SFMOMA expansion’s Fireshield cladding will present a rippling horizontal texture said to be reminiscent of California’s San Francisco Bay just a few blocks away. Fabricated by Kreysler & Associates, the façade’s 700 panels have a skin thickness of only 4.8 mm and weigh, on average, only 24 kg/m2.

Another milestone was passed in residential construction, where poured-concrete foundation walls have been the industry standard for private homes in the U.S. for more than 100 years. Patented Epitome composite foundation walls from Composite Panel Systems (Eagle River, WI, US) are fabricated by Fiber-Tech Industries Inc. (Cadillac, Mich.), using fire-retardant Modar resin from Ashland Performance Materials (Dublin, Ohio). The wall concept consists of a foam-cored fiberglass composite panel (178 mm thick, 7.4m long and 2.8m tall) with integral cavities for structural studs and mechanical installation. Shaped connection flanges on each panel enable attachment of adjacent panels. Currently approved for use in Wisconsin, the wall system was reported to on track for compliance on the national level with the ICC’s International Building Code and International Residential Code by October 2014.

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