The aluminum composite panel popularly known as an ACP sheet is a new-age paneling material used for architectural building exteriors (facades), interiors, kitchen cabinets, and signage applications.
ACP sheets are flat panels having a non-aluminum core sandwiched between two thin coil-coated aluminum sheets. Aluminum Composite Panel is the most durable and flexible decorative surface material available with enhanced performance properties. This article is about the manufacturing process, Types, Advantages, and application of ACP sheets.
What is an Aluminium Composite panel or ACP sheets ?
Aluminum Composite panels constitute two thin layers of aluminum sheets with a sandwiched polymer core. The polymer core of ACP sheet is of Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) or Polyurethane. These polymer cores are non-fire-resistant materials and are combustible. The presence of the combustible polymer core makes the ACP sheet vulnerable to fire since aluminum has a low melting point.The presence of combustible polymer core restricts the usage of ACP sheet in areas vulnerable to fire.
For enhancing the fire-resistant qualities the polymer cores should be specially treated or use over 90% (Non-Combustible Mineral Fiber FR core) sandwiched between two layers of aluminum skins. Polyvinylidene fluoride ( PVDF), fluoropolymer resin (FEVE), polyester coating etc are applied to protect the ACP sheets. The normal thickness of the aluminum composite panel sizes is 2 mm,3 mm, 4 mm, and 6 mm.
Types of ACP sheets
Depending on the usage and fire rating standards ACP sheets are classified into two categories
- Non fire rated grade
- Fire rated grade
Non fire rated ACP sheets
Aluminum Composite panels constitute two thin layers of aluminum sheets with a sandwiched polymer core. The polymer core of ACP sheet uses Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) or Polyurethane. These sheets are combustible and may catch fire and are considered non-fire-rated ACP sheets. The Usage of these sheets is to be restricted according to the fire rating. A typical cross-section of a non-fire-rated ACP sheet is shown below.
Fire rated ACP sheets
The fire-rated ACP can resist fire for up to 2 hours depending on the core material. The main difference between fire-rated ACP and Standard ACP sheet is in the core materials. The core of the Standard ACP uses LDPE/HDPE whereas the fire-rated ACP uses a specially formulated fire-resistant mineral core. Magnesium hydroxide is used as a core for superior fire retarding properties. Fire Grade Aluminium Composite Panels as the name implies have the unique feature of withstanding high temperatures. Fire Retardant ACP (A2 GRADE) is the highest grade ACP with nearly 90% of inorganic mineral content.
Advantages of ACP sheets
ACP are extensively used nowadays due to a lot of unique properties. Let us feature some of the unique qualities which make it superior to any other paneling material.
ACP is light in weight compared to steel and other construction materials. This drastically reduces the design loads on the structure with large spans and huge areas involved. ACP sheets are easy to lift and erect. This in turn drastically reduces manpower and construction expenses and maintains the schedule.
ACP sheet is flexible and very easy to work with. The fixing framework assembly is simple and installation is easy and fast.
Availability and colour choices
The wide scope of finishes that this composite panel permits give it extraordinary flexibility. From textured to solid, mirror, or wood type, the Aluminium composite board could match any architectural theme. The colour and texture of actual stone and wood is effectively made on aluminum.
ACP is an environmentally sustainable material and are made of 85% recycled aluminium content. The core material and cover sheets of ACP can be reused constantly.
Acp sheets got high dimensional stability and the material can remain stable for a long period without changing the dimensions.
Smooth and elegant
ACP surface is smooth and elegent and can create a pleasent and elegant look on the the building exteriors.
ACP sheet is the most economical paneling option when compared with other paneling materials. The cost depends on the core materials. The fire grade materials are costlier than standard non fire rated ACP.
Weather resistant and Durable
ACP panels are UV resistant and chemical resistant. They are unbreakable stain-resistant,weather-resistant, termite resistant, moisture resistant, and anti-fungal.
Applications of ACP Sheets
ACP sheet is mainly used for a wide range of applications due to its extraordinary qualities. Major uses of the ACP sheet are as follows.
- External and internal architectural cladding
- Internal partition
- False ceilings
- Machine coverings
- Container construction
External and internal architectural cladding/partitions
ACP sheets are used for external cladding/facade works. Thanks to their versatile properties like UV resistance, fire-resistant, and durability. ACP sheets are available in plenty of colour choices to match any architectural theme. The lightweight properties and easy fixing methods and speedy construction makes the ACP sheet the preferred choice for facade/partitions.
ACP sheets in combination with aluminium, UPVC etc are used for office cabins and internal partitions. Partitions can be done with minimal space wastage.
ACP is used to render a wide variety of flexible exterior signs, as signage and hoardings are being used for exterior applications and must survive changes in temperature or weather
ACP sheets are used for interior applications such as wall coverings, false ceilings, cupboards, portable kitchen cabinets, tabletops, column covers, and more.
ACP sheets are Green and environmentally friendly, easy to clean, and can shorten the construction period. ACP panels are resistant to corrosion, prevents acid and alkali, and other types of corrosion. Due to these versatile properties, ACP sheets are one of the popular choices in the construction sector.