One of the most essential features of each construction material has to be the safety of the products. It doesn’t matter which material you choose for your construction project, but as long as they are safe you can make sure that they can easily serve as the basis of a project. One of the very common materials that customers and engineers apply to their projects is aluminum composite material also known as ACM. However, the safety issues of ACM panels, especially ACM cladding has been under investigation for the past few years. Thus, perhaps the very first question that clients ask is that Is All ACM Cladding unsafe? For more in-depth details about these materials, you can also visit What is ACM used for?
The safety issue of aluminum composite materials is mostly dependant on their structural properties and their engineering system. Moreover, the application of the panels is also crucial for this particular purpose. As a result, for this particular blog post, we will mention the structural properties of aluminum composite materials and their relation to the safety issue of the panels. Then, we will mention the usage and their safety particularly ACM cladding. Finally, we will give our verdict on the composite panels and ACP materials.
Is all ACM Cladding Unsafe?
Aluminum composite materials are now considered totally safe. That is the short answer to the question above. However, this safety has not been granted in one day. In fact, ACM cladding was so unsafe that most governments restricted their usage. But today, manufacturers and providers have not only found a problem to this issue, but they have also solved it by providing one of the best solutions ever.
The problem with ACM cladding unsafe was caused by two important structural properties:
- The core element
- The coating material
The core element of ACM cladding was considered to be the most problematic part of their safety issue. In general words, aluminum composite materials consist of two main elements:
- Two aluminum layers
- One core element
The two aluminum layers surround the core element. The core element itself consists of polyethylene (PE) which is a non-fire retardant material. That is, in case of emergencies, these panels have a tendency to spread fire very quickly. That’s why the governments have banned their usage for more than two-floor buildings.
On the other side of the story is the solution to use fire-retardant elements and maintain the same quality. That is, fire retardant cores such as mineral-filled ones or honeycomb cores can withstand the harshest situation of ACP materials. They are entirely fire-resistant and to answer this question: Is All ACM Cladding Unsafe? we can say that fire-retardant cores can offer great durability and safety for all ACM panels applications. However, this material alone is not enough.
The coating material:
The coating material has the same storyline compared to the core element. In other words, you have three choices when approaching choose the best coating material for yourself:
- PE Coating
- PVDF Coating
- Nano PVDF Coating
Same as the core material, applying PE coating to the panels can be problematic. PE coating can cause fire safety issues. Therefore, it is better to choose the other options. In fact, today, most manufacturers and providers have entirely abandoned the PE coating for aluminum composite panels.
The solution to the PE coating is now easily provided by applying and using the PVDF coating. PVDF stands for polyvinylidene difluoride which is a durable material for color coatings. It has complete resistance to solvents, acids, and hydrocarbons. This is a great choice for those who want to apply ACM cladding. Therefore, the answer to the question that Is All ACM Cladding Unsafe? is now clear.
Another choice is also available for those who want the best coating material. Nano PVDF has the option of keeping the panels more clean and durable in the long term; however, it costs much more compared to the regular PVDF coating.
ACM Cladding and other applications:
The safety issue of aluminum composite materials also depends on their applications. ACM panels have a wide variety of usages for both construction and non-construction purposes.
For construction purposes: ACM applications are as follows:
- Internal decoration
- Wall Partitioning
- False ceilings
- ACM Cladding
- Aluminum Facade
- ACM Siding
- ACM Roofing
All of the above applications have a direct role in their structural properties and their engineering systems. Thus, whether you choose aluminum composite materials for internal usages or external ones, you can expect a different ACM panel material. For instance, the internal usages do not require more thickness because they don’t need as much durability as the external ones.
Which applications require more safety?
Since the fire issue with the PE cores started, governments in some countries have put on some restrictions on the usage of ACM panels and ACM Claddings. These restrictions offer that aluminum composite materials with PE cores can only be used for one or two-floor buildings. Therefore, if you plan to use more than two-floor buildings, you need to apply FR cores and PVDF coatings.
Non-construction usages of aluminum composite materials also try to use the best possible materials to be safe against fire. Here are the non-construction ACM applications:
- Road Signage
- Advertisement Panels
- Train Stations
- Trains and Busses
One major feature that is especially useful for all the applications is the panels’ durability against environmental hazards. Thus, the panels are completely fire and water-resistance. The lightweight aluminum composite panels are also quite useful for the above-mentioned applications. For instance, the aircraft industry needs light materials for their usage. Aluminum composite panels with their lightweight are particularly useful for such usages.
Our Verdict on the Safety of ACM Cladding:
Aluminum composite panels have been active in the construction world for more than six decades. Although they had their ups and downs with some fire issues, today there entirely safe with the use of fire-retardant cores and PVDF coatings. Therefore, their usage and applications are increasing and for now, no other material can offer features that ACM panels offer. For more information regarding these materials, you can also take a look at How much does ACM Panel Cost?
If you further want to have more information about their applications, their price, and more you can also contact our staff and our experts. They are available during working hours to answer all of your questions. Moreover, you can put your comments and ask your questions in the section below and we will get to you quickly.
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