- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 25 Apr 2017
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.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
A survey of Leicester’s historic buildings resulted in local listing being taken more seriously.
Demolition is the most high risk activity in the construction sector. Read our introductory article here.
BSRIA report on the domestic boiler market, with China recording the most 'dynamic market uptake'.
Do we really know everything important about the impacts of our infrastructure projects? And if we don’t, does it matter?
Former Chief executive Richard Howson blames government for being 'poor payers'.
An environmental plan is an essential tool for setting and managing environmental objectives for a project.
CLC call for an 'outcome-based, transparent and efficient' industry with new report.
The first NIC assessment suggests there is a golden opportunity to provide low-carbon energy.
It's featured prominently as the backdrop to the World Cup coverage - read about the most iconic building in Russia.
Report highlights growing need for soft skills and digital skills among civil engineers.