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15 Feb

Aluminum Composite Panel Details: Everything You Need to Know

Posted 14:30 pm, Feb 15, 2024 by ren tao / Category: Blogs

Aluminum composite panels (ACP) are widely used in modern construction due to their lightweight, durability, and aesthetic appeal. ACPs consist of two thin aluminum sheets bonded to a non-aluminum core, such as polyethylene. The panels are available in various sizes, colors, and finishes, making them a versatile choice for architects and builders.

The aluminum composite panel reflects sunlight, showing its smooth surface and metallic sheen. The edges are clean and sharp, with visible screws securing it in place

When it comes to installing ACPs, attention to detail is crucial to ensure the panels are properly secured and aligned. This is where aluminum composite panel details come into play. Details refer to the various components and methods used to install aluminum panels, including the framing system, fasteners, joints, and sealants. Proper installation details can prevent water infiltration, thermal bridging, and other issues that can compromise the performance and longevity of the panels.

Composition of Aluminum Composite Panels

Aluminum composite panels arranged in a geometric pattern, reflecting light and shadow. Sharp edges and smooth surfaces create a modern, industrial feel

Aluminum Composite Panels (ACPs) are made up of three layers: a core material sandwiched between two aluminum sheets. The core material is usually made of polyethylene or fire-resistant mineral-filled core, which provides strength and rigidity to the panel. The aluminum sheets on both sides of the core material are coated with a thin layer of paint or other protective coatings.

The thickness of the aluminum sheets used in ACPs can vary from 0.2mm to 0.5mm, depending on the application. The thickness of the core material can also vary, ranging from 3mm to 6mm. The overall thickness of the panel can range from 4mm to 10mm.

The aluminum sheets used in ACPs are typically made of alloy 3003 or 5005, which are known for their high strength and corrosion resistance. The paint or protective coating on the surface of the aluminum sheets can be made of polyester, PVDF, or other materials, depending on the desired finish and durability.

Overall, ACPs are a lightweight and durable building material that can be used for a variety of applications, including cladding, signage, and interior decoration. The composition of ACPs makes them easy to fabricate and install, while also providing excellent weather resistance and fire performance.

Manufacturing Process

Machines cut and shape aluminum sheets, then bond them with a polyethylene core, creating aluminum composite panel details

Core Material Preparation

The first step in the manufacturing process of aluminum composite panels is the preparation of the core material. The core material is typically made of a polyethylene (PE) or fire-retardant (FR) material. The material is prepared by mixing the polyethylene or fire-retardant material with other additives and then extruding it into sheets of the desired thickness.

Metal Coating

Once the core material is prepared, the next step is to coat the metal surfaces with a layer of aluminum. This is done by first cleaning the surface of any dirt or debris and then applying a layer of primer. Once the primer has dried, a layer of aluminum is applied using a process called coil coating. The coil coating process involves feeding a coil of aluminum through a series of rollers that apply the coating to both sides of the metal.

Lamination Process

After the metal has been coated, the next step is to laminate the metal to the core material. This is done by first applying a layer of adhesive to one side of the metal and then placing the core material on top. The two materials are then passed through a set of rollers that apply pressure and heat, bonding the metal to the core material.

Cutting and Finishing

The final step in the manufacturing process is cutting and finishing the aluminum composite panels. The panels are cut to the desired size using a saw or other cutting tool. The edges of the panels are then finished using a variety of techniques, including routing, sanding, or filing. The finished panels are then packaged and shipped to customers.

Overall, the manufacturing process of aluminum composite panels is a complex and precise process that involves a number of steps and techniques. By following these steps carefully, manufacturers are able to produce high-quality panels that are used in a variety of applications, from building facades to signage and advertising.

Physical Properties

The aluminum composite panel reflects light, showing a smooth, metallic surface with visible rivets and clean edges

Density and Weight

The density and weight of aluminum composite panels (ACP) vary depending on their thickness and core material. Generally, ACPs have a density range of 1.5 to 1.9 g/cm³ and a weight range of 3.4 to 4.5 kg/m² per mm of thickness. The lighter weight of ACPs compared to other materials such as solid aluminum or steel makes them an ideal choice for applications where weight reduction is a priority.

Thermal Expansion

Aluminum composite panels have a low coefficient of thermal expansion, which means they expand and contract less than other materials when exposed to temperature changes. This property makes ACPs more stable and less prone to warping, buckling, or cracking due to temperature fluctuations. The coefficient of thermal expansion of ACPs ranges from 2.4 to 2.8 x 10^-5/°C.

Acoustic Performance

The acoustic performance of aluminum composite panels varies depending on their thickness, core material, and installation method. Generally, ACPs have good sound insulation properties, which make them suitable for use in soundproofing applications. The sound transmission class (STC) rating of ACPs ranges from 20 to 30, depending on the panel thickness and core material.

In summary, aluminum composite panels have several physical properties that make them a popular choice for various applications. Their low density and weight, low coefficient of thermal expansion, and good acoustic performance make them an attractive option for architects, builders, and designers.

Mechanical Characteristics

Tensile Strength

Aluminum composite panels are known for their high tensile strength, which makes them suitable for use in a variety of applications. The tensile strength of these panels is typically measured in pounds per square inch (psi) and can range from 5,000 to 7,000 psi. This strength allows the panels to withstand a significant amount of stress without breaking or deforming.


Another important mechanical characteristic of aluminum composite panels is their rigidity. These panels are known for their high stiffness, which makes them ideal for use in applications where strength and stability are essential. The rigidity of these panels is typically measured in pounds per square inch (psi) and can range from 300,000 to 500,000 psi.

Impact Resistance

Aluminum composite panels are also known for their excellent impact resistance. This characteristic makes them ideal for use in applications where the panels may be subjected to impact or other types of physical stress. The impact resistance of these panels is typically measured in pounds per square inch (psi) and can range from 10,000 to 15,000 psi. This high level of impact resistance ensures that the panels will not crack or break under normal use.

Overall, the mechanical characteristics of aluminum composite panels make them a popular choice for a wide range of applications. Their high tensile strength, rigidity, and impact resistance make them ideal for use in applications where strength and durability are essential.

Surface Finishes

Coating Types

Aluminum composite panels (ACPs) can be coated with various types of coatings, each with its own unique properties. The most common types of coatings used for ACPs are:

  • PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride): PVDF coatings are known for their durability, weather resistance, and color retention. They are ideal for use in areas with harsh weather conditions.
  • Polyester: Polyester coatings are less expensive than PVDF coatings and are available in a wide range of colors. However, they are not as durable as PVDF coatings and may fade over time.
  • FEVE (Fluorinated Ethylene Vinyl Ether): FEVE coatings are known for their excellent color retention and resistance to UV radiation. They are ideal for use in areas with high levels of UV radiation.

Color Options

ACPs are available in a wide range of colors, including metallic, solid, and special effects colors. Metallic colors are popular for their reflective properties, while solid colors are popular for their simplicity. Special effects colors, such as wood grain and stone finishes, are ideal for creating a natural look.

Texture Variations

ACPs are available in various textures, including smooth, brushed, and embossed. Smooth textures are ideal for creating a sleek, modern look, while brushed textures can add depth and dimension to a building’s facade. Embossed textures can create a natural look, such as a wood grain or stone finish.

Overall, the surface finish of an ACP can significantly impact its appearance and durability. It is important to choose the right coating, color, and texture to achieve the desired look and performance for a building’s facade.

Installation Techniques

Routing and Folding

Routing and folding are two common techniques used to install aluminum composite panels. Routing is the process of cutting a groove into the panel to create a fold line. This allows the panel to be bent and shaped to fit the desired angle or curvature. Folding, on the other hand, involves bending the panel along a pre-existing fold line. This technique is often used to create crisp, clean corners and edges.

Fixing Systems

There are several fixing systems available for aluminum composite panels. The most common method is to use mechanical fixings such as screws or rivets. These fixings are inserted through pre-drilled holes in the panel and into the substrate. Another popular method is to use adhesive fixings. This involves bonding the panel to the substrate using a high-strength adhesive. Adhesive fixings are often preferred for their clean, seamless appearance.

Sealants and Adhesives

Sealants and adhesives play a crucial role in the installation of aluminum composite panels. They are used to seal joints and gaps between panels, as well as to bond the panels to the substrate. Silicone sealants are commonly used for this purpose, as they offer excellent adhesion and flexibility. Polyurethane adhesives are also popular, as they provide a strong, durable bond that can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Overall, proper installation techniques are crucial for ensuring the longevity and durability of aluminum composite panels. By utilizing the appropriate routing and folding techniques, fixing systems, and sealants and adhesives, installers can ensure that the panels are securely fastened and protected against the elements.

Design Considerations

Aluminum composite panels offer a range of benefits for architects and builders, including their versatility, durability, and ease of installation. However, there are several important design considerations to keep in mind when selecting and working with these materials.

Thermal Efficiency

One of the key benefits of aluminum composite panels is their excellent thermal efficiency. These panels offer superior insulation and can help to reduce heating and cooling costs in buildings. When selecting panels, it is important to consider the R-value, or thermal resistance, of the material. Panels with higher R-values will offer better insulation and energy efficiency.

Aesthetic Appeal

Aluminum composite panels are available in a range of colors, finishes, and textures, making them a popular choice for architects and designers. However, it is important to consider the overall aesthetic of the building when selecting panels. Panels should complement the design of the building and enhance its visual appeal.

Sustainability Factors

Sustainability is an important consideration in modern building design. Aluminum composite panels are a sustainable choice, as they are made from recycled materials and can be recycled at the end of their useful life. Additionally, these panels offer excellent durability and require minimal maintenance, reducing their environmental impact over time.

Overall, when selecting aluminum composite panels, it is important to consider factors such as thermal efficiency, aesthetic appeal, and sustainability. By carefully evaluating these considerations, architects and builders can select panels that offer the best combination of performance, durability, and visual appeal for their projects.


Aluminum composite panels (ACP) are versatile building materials that can be used in various applications. Here are some of the most common applications for ACP:

Architectural Cladding

One of the most popular applications for ACP is as an exterior cladding material for buildings. ACPs are lightweight, durable, and easy to install, making them an ideal choice for architects and builders. They can be used to create a variety of designs and styles, from sleek and modern to traditional and ornate.

ACP is particularly useful for high-rise buildings, where weight is a major concern. The panels can be easily installed on the building’s exterior, providing a seamless and uniform appearance. ACPs can also be used for interior cladding, providing a clean and modern look for lobbies, elevators, and other common areas.

Signage and Displays

Another popular application for ACP is as a material for signage and displays. ACPs are commonly used for outdoor signs, billboards, and trade show displays. They are lightweight, weather-resistant, and can be easily cut and shaped to create custom designs.

ACP can also be used for indoor signage, providing a sleek and modern look for retail stores, offices, and other commercial spaces. ACPs can be printed with high-quality graphics and images, making them an ideal choice for branding and marketing purposes.

Interior Design

ACP can also be used for interior design applications, such as wall cladding, ceilings, and partitions. ACPs can be easily installed and provide a clean and modern look for residential and commercial spaces.

ACP is particularly useful for areas that require hygiene and cleanliness, such as hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. The panels can be easily cleaned and disinfected, making them an ideal choice for these types of environments.

In summary, ACP is a versatile building material that can be used in a variety of applications. From architectural cladding to signage and displays to interior design, ACPs provide a lightweight, durable, and modern solution for builders and designers.

Maintenance and Care

Aluminum composite panels are a low-maintenance material that requires minimal upkeep. However, proper maintenance and care can extend the lifespan of the panels and keep them looking their best.

Regular cleaning is recommended to remove dirt, debris, and other pollutants that can accumulate on the surface of the panels. A soft-bristled brush or cloth and mild soap and water can be used for routine cleaning. Avoid using abrasive or harsh chemicals that can damage the surface of the panels.

In areas with high levels of pollution or saltwater exposure, more frequent cleaning may be necessary. Additionally, any damage or scratches to the surface of the panels should be repaired promptly to prevent further damage.

It is also important to regularly inspect the panels for signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, dents, or discoloration. Any issues should be addressed immediately to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards.

Overall, proper maintenance and care can help ensure the longevity and appearance of aluminum composite panels.

Standards and Certifications

Fire Safety Standards

Aluminum composite panels (ACP) are subject to strict fire safety standards to ensure their safe use in buildings. These standards are set by various organizations, such as ASTM International and UL, and vary depending on the intended use of the ACP.

ASTM International has established several standards for ACPs, including ASTM E84, which measures the surface burning characteristics of materials, and ASTM D1929, which measures the ignition properties of plastics. UL also has its own set of standards for ACPs, such as UL 94, which measures the flammability of plastic materials.

When selecting ACPs for a building project, it is important to ensure that they meet the appropriate fire safety standards for their intended use. This can help prevent the spread of fire and ensure the safety of building occupants.

Building Code Compliance

In addition to fire safety standards, ACPs must also comply with building codes and regulations. These codes vary by jurisdiction and may include requirements for material strength, wind resistance, and other factors.

In the United States, the International Building Code (IBC) sets the standards for building construction, including the use of ACPs. The IBC requires that ACPs meet certain performance criteria, such as resistance to wind loads and impact resistance.

It is important to ensure that ACPs used in building projects comply with the relevant building codes and regulations to ensure the safety and durability of the structure. Failure to comply with these codes can result in legal and financial repercussions, as well as potential safety hazards.

Case Studies

Aluminum composite panels have been used in a variety of projects and have proven to be a reliable and durable material. Here are a few examples of successful case studies:

Case Study 1: The Shard, London

The Shard is one of the tallest buildings in Europe and features a striking façade made of aluminum composite panels. The panels were chosen for their lightweight properties, which allowed for easier installation, and their ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. The panels were also coated with a special finish to enhance their durability and protect against corrosion.

Case Study 2: Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and required a façade material that could withstand heavy foot traffic and extreme weather conditions. Aluminum composite panels were chosen for their durability and resistance to corrosion, as well as their ability to maintain their appearance over time. The panels were also designed to be easy to clean and maintain, reducing the need for ongoing maintenance.

Case Study 3: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art underwent a major renovation in 2016 and chose aluminum composite panels for their lightweight properties and ability to create a striking visual impact. The panels were used to create a unique pattern on the façade, which was inspired by the surrounding architecture. The panels were also coated with a special finish to protect against fading and maintain their appearance over time.

Overall, these case studies demonstrate the versatility and reliability of aluminum composite panels in a variety of settings. Whether it’s a tall skyscraper, a busy airport, or a modern museum, aluminum composite panels can provide a durable and visually appealing solution for any project.