Currently, architects focus on designing buildings that are energy-efficient and beautiful. One of the essential components of any building and home is its cladding system. Building cladding is the exterior element of a facility that protects the structure from external factors. All types of buildings require an efficient and functional cladding material from commercial to residential. One of the standards and popular cladding materials is an aluminum composite material. This aluminum cladding adds insulation and protects the building from weather conditions while enhancing the aesthetic characteristics of the facility.
What is Aluminum Composite Material?
The aluminum composite panel is a metal cladding system that is produced with aluminum. Composite panel manufacturers utilize various methods of fabrication and production to create these materials for building facades.
Unlike other conventional cladding materials, aluminum composite material is entirely recyclable. Manufacturers use continuous bonding between two aluminum plates and one fire-retardant core to provide the highest quality aluminum composite panels.
The exterior layer of aluminum composite panels is often pre-painted, adding extra protection and aesthetics and making it perfect for exterior and interior applications.
An Aluminum composite material is primarily made from various aluminum plate systems. However, today’s building material suppliers provide composite panels with other finishes, including wood grains. Thus, this cladding system can be suitable for homeowners who want to create a modern or traditional facade.
Traditional ACM panels consisted of polyurethane core that is banned in most countries, including Canada, due to its fire-safety issues. Thus, modern composite panels feature an FR core following international building codes and regulations.
Additionally, aluminum composite material manufacturers manage to produce nano aluminum composite panels that offer extra protection against water and increase the lifespan of your metal cladding system.
History of ACP Material
Aluminum composite material development has a long history. The story of ACM panels goes back to the 1960s when metal researchers from Swiss proposed the idea of combining aluminum plates with other materials.
Engineers carried out numerous inspections before starting the large production of aluminum composite panels. They started testing their ideas on aluminum siding panels.
After ensuring all aspects of the material, in 1969, a German metal company launched a brand named ALUCOBOND to produce aluminum composite material on a larger scale.
Why Manufacturers Started Developing Aluminum Composite material?
The primary reason for producing aluminum composite material was to meet the unique requirements of industrial projects. Due to the advantages of this metal panel, the early targeted applications were marked by the transportation industry.
With the growth of researching technology, the functionality of aluminum composite panels was recognized for architectural projects. Currently, the most usage of composite material is in the cladding systems.
What are the Advantages of ACM Panels?
Aluminum composite material and ACM panel manufacturing process made them suitable construction materials for various industrial projects. Thanks to the current equipment and technology, manufacturers improved their characteristics.
If you want to use aluminum composite panels for your following projects, knowing their primary advantages over other construction materials is essential, which are:
- ACP is a Cost-Effective Cladding System.
- ACM panels are Durable
- Composite Panels are Versatile Construction Materials
- ACM Panels Feature Flat Surface
- ACM Installation is Straightforward
- Aluminum Composite Material is Lightweight
- You Can Ensure Your Building’s Safety with ACM Panels
- Composite Materials Do Not Require Regular Maintenance
- Aluminum Composite Panels are Perfect Sound Insulators
- ACP is an Energy Efficient Construction Material
Building claddings that are made from aluminum composite material are among the most economical building materials in the market. Since they are long-lasting cladding systems, they are considered an investment. After they are correctly installed, ACM panels will serve your building for decades without causing additional expenses.
Since aluminum composite material is lightweight, installing it on the building facade is more accessible than most traditional cladding materials. Additionally, the labor cost is less than other systems. Moreover, builders can use various installation methods depending on the project.
The aluminum composite panel’s structural details offer efficient thermal performance, making it one of the best solutions for the cladding systems in energy-efficiency terms.
Thanks to the unique structure of ACM panels, these metal claddings are resistant to the harshest weather conditions. The anti-corrosion characteristic of these panels makes them one of the best rainscreen cladding materials in the construction industry.
Another advantage of aluminum composite material is its fire-resistant characteristic which will be discussed in the next sections.
Is it Possible to Recycle Aluminum Composite material?
Today’s best aluminum composite material manufacturers use various methods to recycle this valuable material to reproduce new ACM panels for new projects.
Although ACM panels are economical construction materials, recycling the old or damaged ones is better to prevent them from being wasted in the land fields. Additionally, the high value of ACP influences manufacturers to recycle them without causing changes in their main physical properties.
Another crucial reason that pushes manufacturers to recycle aluminum composite panels is that producing them consumes more energy than recycling.
Aluminum Composite Material Manufacturers Recycle these Cladding Systems With the Steps Below:
- They start with crushing old aluminum composite material panels.
- Then they grind the crushed metal panels.
- Manufacturers utilize circulating water as the cooling system of the process.
- They sieve the composite panels.
- The last step is to do the electrostatic separation of the components.
Read more on Aluminum Composite Panel Recycling Process about the details of the procedure.
ACM Panels with Spectra Coating
Manufacturers offer a unique type of aluminum composite material that features spectra coating. This panel has a different appearance compared to standard ones.
The spectra coating for ACM panels is the final layer of the product that is special in both color and style.
ACM panels with spectra coating have a mixture of colors that you can find in rainbows which consists of a color spectrum instead of a solid hue. In an aluminum composite panel of a specific size, the color purity gradually decreases or increases, or the color darkens and lightens.
The unique appearance of ACM panels with spectra coating allows architects to design extraordinary building facades that will stand out. However, they are more suitable for more dynamic locations with intimate atmospheres such as malls, hotels, art schools, or offices.
With the spectra coated aluminum composite material, the building will be known as a place worth visiting. The only issue with this coating system is that it cannot be used for residential facilities due to the most local building codes that demand the architects to design a building that can blend into the overall style of the neighborhood.
How to Clean Aluminum Composite Material?
Although aluminum composite material does not need regular maintenance and can last long, you will have to clean them once in two to three years to maintain their beauty.
Cleaning aluminum composite panels is not a challenging task. However, there are some essential things to know before cleaning your ACM panels.
- Never use strong alkaline or acid detergents.
- Never consider using abrasive materials.
- Using items that can scrub the painted surface of the aluminum composite material is forbidden.
- Never clean your aluminum cladding in the hottest hours of the day or direct sunlight.
- Before beginning the thorough cleaning process, choosing a small spot for testing your cleaning method is recommended.
Is it Possible to Fabricate or Bend Aluminum Composite Panels?
Since aluminum composite material is flexible (with robust characteristics), manufacturers can fabricate them in any demanding shape or design. It is possible to bend and cut ACM panels with various industrial machines, including:
- Three Roll Bending
- Press Brakes
Each fabrication method has its unique principles, and if you want to know more about the details, check out the How to Cut ACM Panels article.
What is the Difference Between Aluminum Composite Material and Aluminum Plates?
Many people think that an aluminum plate is the same as an aluminum composite material which is a big mistake. Aluminum composite panels are made from solid aluminum plates, and there is a big difference between them when it comes to using them as the cladding material. The primary differences are:
- Building Codes and Regulations
- Color Finishes and Coatings
- Fabrication and Production Process
- Installation Process
Aluminum panels are just solid pieces of metal product that are non-laminated. On the other hand, ACM panels are produced by the composition of aluminum plates and a mineral-filled core. Most aluminum panels are available in their natural and solid color, while ACP materials come with various colors and finishes. Additionally, aluminum composite material is a safer cladding system than concrete panels.
Is Aluminum Composite Panel Flammable?
Almost all modern aluminum composite panels are fire-rated. however, the national standard of GB8624-97 divides these materials into the following classes for their fire-safety characteristics:
- A2: Non-combustible Panels
- B1: Fire-Retardant Panels
- B2: Traditional ACM Panels that Were Combustible
- B3: Flammable Composite Panels (not recommended for large buildings)
Now that you know the different classes of aluminum composite panels, it is evident that choosing A2 or B1 for your next project will be the best choice.
Connection Methods for ACM Panels
As told, the installation process of ACM panels is straightforward compared to most of the current metal cladding systems. However, builders utilize some supplies and connection methods to provide a stable cladding system for their homes or commercial buildings. The list of builders’ connection methods to install your aluminum composite material is here.
- Rivet Connection
- Threaded Fasteners
- Plastic Welding
- Card Connector
Interior Designing with ACP Material
Although aluminum composite material is best for cladding systems, it is possible to use the panel for interior design.
Most interior designers utilize aluminum composite panels for modern furniture designs, including cabinets, tables, shelves, and chairs.
Due to the contemporary appearance of these metal panels, designers can create beautiful and industrial-looking bathrooms and kitchens for people who want to create modern interiors for their homes or offices.
Additionally, ACM panels can be used for interior elements such as ceilings and columns to offer unique characteristics to the area.
There are various ideas that these modern materials can create. We recommend you to read our articles with details about using the aluminum composite panel for interior designs.
Aluminum Composite Panel Cost
The price of aluminum composite panels mainly depends on the finishes you choose and the size your project requires. Additionally, the grades of ACM panels (fire-resistant grades), which we discussed earlier, can also affect the price of your cladding material. With this said, suppliers offer both expensive and cheap panels. Check our guide about ACM Panels: Cheap vs. Expensive if you want to know their differences.