Over the past few decades, the use of ACM panel claddings has gained popularity in the construction industry. Designers often opt to incorporate them into their designs because of their contemporary, stylish look and numerous benefits. Cladding refers to the elements that builders attach to the primary construction structure to create a non-structural external surface. Unlike structures where the exterior section comprises the formation of structural components, claddings serve a purely aesthetic purpose.
What is ACM Cladding?
ACM panel cladding materials have become increasingly popular in the construction industry in recent decades. Their modern, sleek appearance and multiple advantages make them a preferred choice for many designers. The term “cladding” refers to the components that builders attach to the primary structure of a building to create a non-structural outer surface. Claddings are distinct from structures where the outer section serves a structural purpose and is used solely for aesthetic purposes.
ACM panel cladding is composed of two layers of aluminum sandwiching a lightweight core material, such as mineral core, polyethylene, or profiled metal. These claddings have gained popularity due to their precise flatness, lightweight nature, fabricability, and availability in a range of colors and surface finishes. However, the rapid pace of economic development has brought about significant challenges for fire-protection standards in ACM panels.
To ensure the safety of a facility, it is crucial to implement necessary fire prevention measures that provide specific fire resistance characteristics. These measures should ensure that even in the event of a fire, the disturbance and damage caused is minimal. Therefore, it is important to choose appropriate non-combustible construction materials before commencing the building process. When it comes to the most commonly used cladding materials, it is essential to have an understanding of the fire performance of Aluminum Composite Panels.
Classes for Fire-Rated ACM Panels
The GB8624-97 national standard categorizes the fire protection and combustion performance of construction materials used in ACM into various classes.
- A2 Class refers to the highest level of fire protection performance for non-combustible construction materials, which have extremely low flammability and are difficult to ignite.
- The B1 grade is designated for fire-retardant building materials that exhibit good flame- and fire-retardant properties. When such materials are exposed to an open flame in the air or subjected to high temperatures, they are less likely to ignite quickly. In the event of a fire, the combustion will be contained, and the fire will stop spreading as soon as the fire source is removed.
- The B2 Class is the third fire-resistant performance level for combustible materials with a moderate fire-retardant effect. When such materials are exposed to an open flame in the air or subjected to high temperatures, they are prone to ignite and can contribute to the spread of fire, similar to wooden columns, beams, stairs, and trusses made of wood.
- The B3 Grade is the lowest level of fire-resistant performance for building materials, with no fire-retardant effect. These materials are highly flammable and pose a significant fire hazard. Therefore, they are considered volatile and dangerous, making them unsuitable for use as building claddings.
A2 and B1 Fire Retardant ACM Panels
A2 and B1 fire retardant ACM panels are designed to offer different levels of fire protection. A2 fire retardant ACM panels provide the highest level of fire protection, as they are made of non-combustible materials that are difficult to ignite and have low flammability. These panels can withstand high temperatures and fire exposure and do not contribute to the spread of fire.
On the other hand, B1 fire retardant ACM panels offer a moderate level of fire protection. While these panels are made of combustible materials, they are treated with fire-retardant chemicals that slow down their ignition and combustion rate. However, they may still contribute to the spread of fire and are not as fire-resistant as A2 fire retardant ACM panels.
It is important to note that the fire protection rating of ACM panels may vary depending on their specific composition and the manufacturing process. Therefore, it is essential to choose the appropriate fire-retardant ACM panel based on the specific fire safety requirements of a building or structure.