Metal composite panels
Metal composite panels (or metal composite materials - MCM) are typically used in the external cladding of buildings. They can be bent, curved and joined together in an almost unlimited range of configurations, making them popular with architects and engineers of complex structures.
They first emerged commercially in the 1960's and are now frequently used as a wall cladding, in cornices and canopies, and for joining areas between other building materials such as glass and precast panels.
Two metal skins are bonded to an insulating core, forming a composite ‘sandwich’ panel. The metal component, can be aluminium, zinc, stainless steel, titanium and so on, available in a wide variety of colours, finishes and profiles. The core may be manufactured from an insulating material such as polyethylene or from a fire-retardant material, with a range of thicknesses available depending on performance requirements.
The composite panel has a number of advantages compared to single-layer metal sheeting, including:
- Weather resistance.
- Acoustic insulation.
- Thermal insulation.
- A consistency of finish that requires little maintenance.
- They do not wrinkle as the external skins are bonded to the core under tension.
- They are lightweight.
With improvements in manufacturing technology and installation techniques, metal composite panels have become very affordable compared to other systems. They can be more cost-effective and can be installed faster than precast panels, granite or brick exteriors, and have reduced structural support requirements because of their lighter weight.
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