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.
Some of the properties of ACP panels include:
- High Durability
- 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:
- Fire-rated ACP sheets: These panels can withstand extreme temperatures. The core either consists of magnesium hydroxide, LDPE, or HDPE.
- Non-fire-rated ACP sheets: These panels consist of a polymer core (polyurethane)
- sandwiched between two thin sheets of aluminum.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
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:
- Cleaning the substructure: Removal of oil, grease, paint, whitewash, and other coatings using a damp paper without a dissolvent.
- Area priming: Increasing the efficiency of the adhesiveness.
- Applying the double-sided adhesive tape
- Fitting the panels
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.
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
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