Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages

Sandwich panels are common sheet building material, consisting of several layers. Their basic structure is a three-layer structure, but it can often be more complex with decorative layers. This material is widely used in construction. It can be based on sheets of various metals. Aluminum sandwich panels are especially popular due to their lightweight construction and resistance to corrosion.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Aluminum sandwich panel

Scope of aluminum panels

These sheet materials are produced by dozens of well-known manufacturers with a worldwide reputation. Each of them, in order to attract buyers to their products, came up with various ways to improve their technical characteristics. In this regard, the market is saturated with materials that are fundamentally different in their properties. This made it possible to expand the possibilities of using aluminum products. They are used for rapid fabrication and construction:

  • ventilated facades;
  • interior cladding;
  • billboards;
  • car vans;
  • gates;
  • wagons;
  • ship interiors.

Most often, aluminum sandwich panels can be found on facades:

  • gas stations;
  • service stations;
  • retail outlets;
  • entertainment centers;
  • subway tunnels;
  • balconies.
Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Facade of a building made of a sandwich panel

What are the advantages of sandwich panels?

The closest material alternative is a similar product made of sheet steel. Such products are more durable, but still aluminum has a number of advantages:

  • lightness ;
  • resistance to corrosion;
  • simple drilling;
  • simplified bending or milling technology.

The use of such a material creates a minimum load on the frame on which installation is carried out. The use of sandwich panels to create ventilated facades during the reconstruction of buildings eliminates the need to strengthen the foundation.

Hanging the panels creates a minimum load on the bearing capacity, and does not require the use of expensive fasteners to fix to the walls. Similar advantages are observed when using this material for roofing work. Lightness is a key parameter when choosing panels for production of vans and banners for outdoor advertising.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Van made of sandwich panels

The choice in favor of panels in the manufacture of doors eliminates the need for expensive fittings ..

. This is especially true when installing an electric drive for automatic opening. In the event that the walls of the garage are made of aerated concrete or other loose material, then hanging heavy structures without creating massive racks is impossible.Applying aluminum sandwich panels for door cladding, the load on fasteners and walls is created an order of magnitude lower than when using sheet steel.

Common variants of aluminum panel designs

Multilayer aluminum panels have been produced for several decades, but manufacturers are constantly improving the design.

Some include modern bonding materials, which ensure a reliable connection between the aluminum sheets on the sides of the panels and the inner filling. Others are introducing radical solutions that provide a large departure from the original classical production technology. On the market, you can find four fundamentally different options for aluminum panels:

  • composite ;
  • with insulation;
  • corrugated;
  • honeycomb.

All of them radically differ from each other in their technical characteristics and thickness parameters. Common features are found only in corrugated and honeycomb products.

Despite the consonance of the name, products made of aluminum and ordinary sandwich panels, which are widely used in the construction of frame buildings, usually do not have thermal insulation properties. For this reason, during the cladding, mineral wool, foam, expanded polystyrene or polyurethane are additionally used. Of all the varieties of these products, only a special type of panels can be used simultaneously as a finishing and insulation material.

What are composite panels?

This material is one of the most common. It usually has three layers.

In its center there is a plastic layer, and flat aluminum sheets are glued on the sides. Various decorative coatings can be applied to the front to provide the desired color or special texture. Also, imitation film is often used for decoration. Sometimes it is varnished on top. To ensure safe transportation of the material, it can be covered with a temporary transparent film, which opens after the panels are installed.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Aluminum composite panels

The service life of aluminum composite materials is about 50 years. The panels have a high fire safety, so they can be used in the decoration of residential premises, as well as various industrial facilities with a high risk of fire. Since the outer layer is made of aluminum, the panels are not afraid of exposure to rain or UV rays.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Properties of automatic gearbox

The material normally tolerates wet cleaning, which allows you to care for the facade. Despite the fact that the thickness of such products rarely exceeds more than 6 mm, composite material provides good sound insulation properties.

That is why they are used for the construction of budget-class thin internal office partitions.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Facade with composite panels

The operating temperature after installation of structures is in the range - 50 ... + 80 ° C.

The decorative layer of the material is resistant to UV light, precipitation, as well as mechanical stress, in particular, scratching.

Prices for composite panels

Composite panels

Video - Sandwich panels: types, characteristics, advantages and cons

Table 1. Dimensions of composite aluminum panels.

Parameter Value
Length 2-6 m
Width 1-1.5 m
Thickness 2 -6 mm
Section of aluminum sheet 0.

15- 0.8 mm

Weight per 1 m2 2.9-7.9 kg.

Features of mounting a composite panel

Such sandwich panels are usually chosen for fixing on the facades of buildings.

Such products provide a special system of locks for joining, which is a bit like the technology used on laminate and lining.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Installation technology

Prices for dowels for fixing insulation

Umbrella dowel

Step-by-step installation of composite panels

Step 1. Marking the walls with the observance of the level horizontally and vertically.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Application of the laser level

Prices for the laser level

Laser level

Step 2. Fastening the frame with specialized guides to the walls.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Fasten the guides

Step 3. Laying the insulation if necessary.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Laying the insulation

Step 4. Fixing the insulation with disc dowels.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Fastening the insulation

Step 5.

Fastening the composite panels using self-tapping screws and clamps to the frame.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Installing composite panels

Attention! Fixation of aluminum panels of this type directly to the frame is carried out using special clamps, similar to those used for mounting the lining. Thus, the panel itself is not drilled. The clamp is installed on the guide and provides a gap between the plates of about 6 mm. The antennae on its surface are used to fix the edges of the panels.

Thanks to this method of fixing, high accuracy in the placement of sheets is ensured, as well as maintaining the same distance at the joints. Spring-loaded cleats provide sufficient fixation of the panels to prevent sagging due to mechanical impact or wind pressure.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages

A metal profile is used as a guide for making the frame. The distance between its posts is selected individually, depending on the size of the sheets.Aluminum sandwich panels used for facades can be flat or embossed with stiffening ribs.

The choice in favor of such a material greatly reduces the duration of finishing work, and ensures the creation of a durable attractive surface.

The material has the ability to bend at small angles. For this, shallow milling is carried out along the perimeter of the fracture from the side of the future inner corner. The cutter removes the aluminum sheet and also selects the material of the center composite. After that, the slab is folded along the line.

Composite sandwich panels are produced from aluminum sheets of various thicknesses. An assortment with a thin metal layer cracks during bending, therefore it is not suitable for these purposes.

Insulated aluminum sandwich panels

This material has a classic design in the generally accepted concept of sandwich panels. It has three layers. In the center there is a rigid insulation, which is used as extruded polystyrene foam, and flat sheet aluminum is glued on the sides.

Epoxy resins are usually used as a binder.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Insulated aluminum sandwich panels

In world practice, there are cases of production of insulated aluminum sandwich panels with section up to 200 mm. The most commonly used products are thickness from 30 to 80 mm.

Please note! This material is the only one with thermal insulation properties of all varieties of aluminum sandwich panels. It is used to create ventilated facades without additional insulation, as well as to manufacture vans.

Despite the fact that expanded polystyrene is used as the base of the plates, they have a rather high rigidity. However, the material does not have sufficient load-bearing properties for mounting various fasteners on its surface. That is, if the walls are made of such sandwich panels, it will not be possible to tighten the screws to fix the shelves in them, and so on.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Building with a ventilated facade made of panels

When using aluminum sandwich panels with internal insulation for manufacturing of car vans, the manufacturer, if necessary, mills the expanded polystyrene and glues a plywood mortgage in the selected recess. In the future, the prepared base is pasted over with aluminum sheets.

The fastener screwed into the mortgage is securely held no worse than welding.

Coating options for insulated aluminum sandwich panels

The use of such material in the manufacture of ventilated facades can greatly increase the speed of installation work. It should be noted the abundance of options for covering such a material, which provides any desired decorative effect. The surface can be matte, glossy, pebbled and even mirrored.

Table 2.

Coating options for aluminum insulated sandwich panels.

Coating name Description
Polyester (PE) Possesses high protective properties, but not long service life.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Durable coating with increased resistance to mechanical stress, neutrality to aggressive substances and deep colors.
Oxide film It is one of the most successful coating options. Has a long service life.

Laminated Film Creates an imitation of wood or stone. This material is known to the consumer as a coating of MDF and chipboard in furniture of an affordable price segment.
Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Samples of decorative coating of insulated panels

Features of the installation of insulated sandwich panels made of aluminum

Installation of this material is carried out using classic fasteners. Self-tapping screws or bolted connections can be used as it. For this, through holes are made in the sheets, through which they are attracted to the base frame.

The joints between the panels are treated with adhesives to prevent the creation of cold bridges. At the corners, the connection is closed with steel or aluminum corner profiles.

When making vans from aluminum sandwich panels, each side is made from a single piece. This creates a high structural rigidity and impermeability. The sheets are fixed to the frame.

The use of the material on frameless structures is not allowed.

Corrugated Sandwich Panels

This material consists exclusively of aluminum and an oxide binder. This construction is three-layer. In its center is aluminum folded into a corrugation. Even sheets are glued on the sides.

The interior design provides high rigidity. For finishing, the surface of the boards can be treated with a PVDF layer. For the manufacture of such sandwich panels, aluminum sheets with a thickness of from 0.5 to 1 mm are used.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Corrugated panel construction

Table 3.

Technical parameters of corrugated aluminum sandwich -panels.

Parameter Value
Thickness 4-42 mm
Weight per m2 3.5 kg
Tear-off strength over 20 kg
Compressive strength per cm2 30 kg

This material is produced in different sizes. Usually its length is 2440 mm, and width 1020 or 1250 mm. This design provides efficient temperature transfer, so a thick insulation is required when using sheathing material.

The panels are completely fireproof.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Sample of corrugated sandwich panel decor

Corrugated sandwich panels of two layers are supplied to the market. They consist of an outer flat sheet and wave-folded aluminum. The absence of one surface allows for efficient bending of the panels. This allows them to be used for finishing complex reliefs, for example, buildings with curved walls.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Radius curved panel on the facade

This type of sandwich board is the strongest of the entire range aluminum structures. In this regard, it can be used in the transport sector, as well as shipbuilding. The products of Western companies supplied to the market can have various facing coatings. The most common are imitations of wood, stone, fabrics and leather.

This type of panels is one of the most successful options for manufacturing gates.

Such a coating will be more durable than composite panels. In addition, the material has increased rigidity, which in combination with the gate frame will prevent intruders from entering.

Honeycomb panels

Aluminum honeycomb sandwich panels have a lot in common with corrugated products. They also have three layers. Aluminum cells are formed in the center, and flat sheets are glued at the ends.

This structural principle ensures high mechanical strength. The material does not burn. The most popular products in this segment are panels from Alucoil (Spain). These products are manufactured in various sizes, including large format. There are panels width up to 2 m, and length up to 14 m.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Construction of aluminum honeycomb sandwich panels

Installation of panels is carried out by standard methods, as well as by gluing and riveting. To give the required shape, the material can be bent, molded and milled. Panels of this design can be used for the construction of:

  • ventilated facades;
  • floors;
  • hanging shelves;
  • partitions.

Such products are often used in the production of air conditioners, trucks, acoustic barriers, office and outdoor furniture. The front side of the honeycomb aluminum sandwich panels is painted.

Also on sale you can find products with a PVDF layer. The panels are produced in thickness from 5.5 to 35 mm. Installation technology is fully consistent with any building boards for wall or ceiling decoration. Lack of material in the drumming sound effect in the case of an insufficient number of attachment points, which is excluded if the installation requirements are met.

Aluminum sandwich panels: advantages and disadvantages
Decorated panel

If you have any difficulties in choosing the material, check out our article - Facing the facade of the house. Which material is better?

Video - Installation of composite panels