An aluminum composite panel, commonly known as ACP is a type of metal cladding that constitutes a sheet of aluminum composite material held between two thin sheets of coated aluminum. The sheets are coated to prevent moisture and corrosion. The basic idea is to combine metal and non-metal compounds like aluminum and polyethylene plastic to achieve maximum productivity and durability. ACP can be used for exterior and interior surfaces of a building due to its flexibility, giving the material freedom to be bent or molded as required by the clients. 

An overview of ACP Panelling - Sheet1
ACP_©wikipedia

Some of the properties of ACP panels include:

  • High Durability
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • High Flexibility
  • Weather Resistant
  • Excellent compression and shear properties

Aluminum composite paneling is a preferable finish that most designers opt for since it cuts down on a lot of environmental issues. It’s also one of the few metal cladding options which do not corrode easily nor react with most chemicals. Some of the advantages of using ACP panels are:

  • It is fire-resistant
  • It is corrosion-resistant
  • It’s an easy material to work with
  • It provides easy and quick installation 
  • It is cost effective
  • Availability in a wide variety of colors
  • It has strong UV-resistance
  • Provides good thermal and sound insulation
  • Provides a wide range of options in terms of customization
  • Stain and climate resistance
  • Can be recycled

One of the only disadvantages of using ACP is that extreme weather conditions like storms and hurricanes may lead to the formation of dents in these panels due to which manufacturers are currently developing panels with special threads that can withstand the effects of harsh weather. 

According to different kinds of requirements and applications ACP panels are available in numerous types such as:

  1. Fire-rated ACP sheets: These panels can withstand extreme temperatures. The core either consists of magnesium hydroxide, LDPE, or HDPE
  2. Non-fire-rated ACP sheets: These panels consist of a polymer core (polyurethane) 
  3. sandwiched between two thin sheets of aluminum. 
  4. Anti-bacterial ACP sheets: These sheets have an anti-bacterial coating made of silver ions that prevent bacteria from persisting on the surface. They are used in health spas, food factories, fitness studios, etc. 
  5. Self-cleaning ACP sheets: The ACP sheets are coated with a material that is both lithophobic and hydrophobic. They are used in highly polluted areas, industrial buildings, coastal areas, etc. 
An overview of ACP Panelling - Sheet2
Fire rated panel_©indiamart.com
An overview of ACP Panelling - Sheet3
Anti-bacterial sheets_©aludecor.com
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Nano self-cleaning ACP sheets_©acmmanufacturer.com

Aluminum composite panels are used for:

  • Indoor purposes such as for shelves in shops, parlors, kitchen countertops, and cabinets since they prevent stains. 
  • Outdoor purposes such as on the exterior structure of a building like shopping malls, hotels, hospitals, apartments, airports, gas stations, petrol pumps, bus stands, metro stations, and industrial & commercial buildings. 
  • They are additionally used for billboards, advertisement boards, nameplates, sign boards, exhibition stands, column covers, beam wraps, doors, furniture, facades, and false ceilings.  

Aluminum composite panels are installed in different methods depending on the application they serve. The different methods of installation include:

  • Wet Sealant joint

It is one of the most common methods of installation where a system of tray-like panels is joined using a sealant. The ACP sheet is fixed to the sub-structure by applying the sealant to the necessary joints. This makes the panel system watertight.  

  • Hanging Method

This method consists of the panels being hung from the sub-frame to provide gaps for expansion and contraction of the material due to temperature variation. This system is simple but does not provide a watertight installation. The hanging method is often used for internal cladding. 

  • Dry Gasket Joint 

This method uses a dry gasket instead of a sealant to attach the panels to the sub-frame. Sometimes, sealants may cause stains on the panels due to which these gaskets are used as an alternative. 

  • Narrow open joint

This method is used for stone and wood-textured aluminum composite panels to achieve narrow joints for an aesthetic appearance. The panels are attached to the sub-structure using either EPDM gaskets or sealants, depending on the requirement.

An overview of ACP Panelling - Sheet5
Wet Sealant Joint_©ecmsinc.weebly.com
An overview of ACP Panelling - Sheet6
Hanging method _©bimobject.com
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Dry Gasket Joint_©CE Center-BNP Media

Additional methods of assembly include riveting and pasting. Riveting is a faster and more efficient way of making a stable connection between the panels and the sub-structure using nuts and bolts along with different profiles. It is mostly done for larger building masses and curvilinear cladding or paneling. Components required for riveting:

  • Double T profile bracket
  • Omega mullion profile
  • Joining profile between Omegas
  • Omega transom profile
  • Blind rivet
  • Aluminum composite panel
An overview of ACP Panelling - Sheet8
Profiles_©aludecor.com
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Riveted panel_©aludecor.com
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Pasted panel_©aludecor.com

The other method which requires pasting is done for a more lightweight system which is much more economical in terms of the assemblage. The procedure consists of:

  1. Cleaning the substructure: Removal of oil, grease, paint, whitewash, and other coatings using a damp paper without a dissolvent.
  2. Area priming: Increasing the efficiency of the adhesiveness.
  3. Applying the double-sided adhesive tape
  4. Fitting the panels

Finishing

Aluminum composite panels are available in a wide range of material finishes that include different types of timber, corten steel, mirror, stone, marble, glossy, brushed, HPL sheet, and metallic. Wooden finishes give a warm effect and a traditional look to interior spaces while metallic finishes give the buildings a rustic appearance. Marble and stone finishes give an expensive quality to the interior and exterior parts of a building. Mirror and glossy finishes also add high aesthetic quality to the space. 

An overview of ACP Panelling - Sheet11
Wood ACP-Residence_© adelaidetimbercladding.com.au
An overview of ACP Panelling - Sheet2
Metal ACP Façade_©indiamart.com
An overview of ACP Panelling - Sheet13
Marble ACP paneling_©vivaacp.com
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Mirror finish_©arecaacpsheet.com

Specifications and prices:

The prices of ACP vary according to the thickness, texture, coating, purpose, and brand of the sheets. In India, their prices usually range from Rs.40 to Rs.200 per square foot. The thickness of ACP usually varies between 1mm to 6mm.

Wooden textured panels: Rs.170 per square feet

Glossy finishes: Rs.80- Rs.180 per square foot (Depending on thickness)

Brush finish: Rs.100 per square feet

Mirror finish: Rs.65 per square feet

Price Chart_©gtrademax.com

Reference links:

  • Aluminum Composite Panel or ACP Sheet

             Available from: https://virgoacp.com/ [Online]

  • Properties of aluminum composite panels.

Available from: https://bespokecompositepanels.com/properties-aluminium-composite-panels/ [Online]

  • ACP Sheets: Types, Installation, Advantages, Disadvantages, Uses [2022]                                                                     .Available from: https://dailycivil.com/acp-sheets-types-installation-advantages-disadvantages-uses/ [Online]
  • Bushan Mahajan. (2022).ACP Sheets.

Available from: https://civiconcepts.com/blog/acp-sheet [Online]

  • Aluminum Composite Sheet. (2022). Available from: https://vivaacp.com/ [Online]
  • What is the price of ACP sheets in India?. Answered by Manny Singh. (26th Feb 2022). Available from: https://www.quora.com/ [Online]
  • ACP Sheets Price List in India. (2021). 

Available from: https://www.gtrademax.com/acp-sheets/ [Online]

  • Ace Series: Aludecor Metal Composite Panel. [Brochure]. (2021). 

Available from: https://www.aludecor.com/ [Online]

Author

Adiya is an architecture student pursuing her studies in BMS College of Architecture, Bangalore. She believes that architecture can not only be expressed through form but through words too which help evoke certain emotions in the readers. Her passion for art and writing is what peaks her interest in the field of architectural journalism.

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