The caloric value of building materials has a major effect on their performance during fire. Compare the PCS values of the most commonly used solutions for facade cladding and find out what this means for the fire safety of your building.
ACP and ACM: what are the risks in fire safety?
ACP (Aluminium Composite Panels) or ACM (Aluminium Composite Materials) are flat panels consisting of two thin coil-coated aluminium sheets, bonded to a non-aluminium core. The standard ACP core is polyethylene (PE) or polyurethane (PU). These materials are combustible and have a poor reaction to fire performance. To improve their performance, they can be treated with flame retardants or even completely exchanged for a mineral core to improve the reaction to fire performance. ACPs are frequently used for external cladding (facades) of buildings, insulation and signage.
How is High Pressure Laminate (HPL) made?
HPL (High Pressure Laminate) panels are made of resin impregnated cellulose layers that are cured under heat and high pressure. Among these various layers are ones with overlay paper, decorative paper and Kraft paper. HPL panels consist of about 60-70% paper and about 30-40% thermosetting resins. All these materials are combustible by nature and therefore have a poor reaction to fire performance. This performance can be improved by adding flame retardants, but the calorific content of these materials remains high.
Fibre cement and fire safety
Fibre cement is a composite material, made of cement reinforced with cellulose fibres. Fibre cement boards can be pre-painted or pre-stained or this can be done after installation. The fire behaviour of fibre cement boards is very good, because of their low calorific content.
Stone wool fibres: fire resilient by nature
Rockpanel boards are made of highly compressed stone wool fibres from the natural material basalt (volcanic rock). The panels are finished with a decorative coating. For the binding of the fibres small amounts of thermosetting resin is used, creating a panel with a low calorific content and very good reaction to fire performance.