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Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) also Aluminium Composite Material, (ACM) is a type of flat panel that consists of two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium core. ACPs are frequently used for external cladding of buildings (building facades), for insulation and for signage.
Aluminium sheets can be coated with PVDF, fluoropolymer resins (FEVE) or Polyester paint. Aluminium can be painted in any kind of colour, and ACPs are produced in a wide range of metallic and non-metallic colours as well as patterns that imitate other materials, such as wood or marble. The core is commonly low density polyethylene, or a mix of low density polyethylene and mineral material to exhibit fire retardant properties.
3A Composites (formerly Alcan Composites & Alusuisse) invented Aluminium Composites over 40 years ago with Alucobond, followed by Dibond 20 years ago, all other grades are in effect copies.
ACP is mainly used for external and internal architectural cladding or partitions, false ceilings, signage, machine coverings, container construction etc. Applications of ACP are not limited to external building cladding, but can also be used in any form of cladding such as partitions, false ceilings etc. ACP is also widely used within the signage industry as an alternative to heavier, more expensive substrates.
ACP has been used as a light-weight but very sturdy material in construction, particularly for transient structures like trade show booths and similar temporary elements. It has recently also been adopted as a backing material for mounting fine art photography, often with an acrylic finish using processes like Diasec or other face-mounting techniques. ACP material has been used in famous structures as Spaceship Earth, VanDusen Botanical Garden, the Leipzig branch of the German National Library.
These structures made optimal use of ACP through its cost, durability and efficiency. Its flexibility, low weight and easy forming and processing allow for innovative design with increased rigidity and durability.
Many people use Dibond or sandwich panel as a generic name (genericized trademark) for aluminum composite panels that are typically 0.3 to 0.5 mm thick aluminum sheets covering a solid polyethylene core with a total thickness of 3 mm or more, or similar panels from any manufacturer.
A variety of manufacturers sell aluminium composite panels under a wide variety of brand names, including (in no particular order)
NZACM from NZACM Limited, VillaBOND from Villa Bond, Dibond from 3A Composites and Alcan, WILLSTRONG from WILLSTRONG CO. Max-Metal from Grimco, ALPOLIC from Mitsubishi Plastics, Reynobond from Alcoa, RedBond from is aRedBond Composites, Vitrabond from Fairview Architectural, Alucobond from 3A Composites, Plascore Board from Plascore, Alupanel from Multipanel UK is an own brand material from an unknown source, Hylite from 3A Composites, Etalbond from Elval Colour, Larson from Alucoil, AlubondAfrica, etc.
Some people use sandwich panel for any structural sandwich (sandwich-structured composite) of a core bonded between two cover sheets, no matter what material(s) it is made of, and no matter if the core is solid, foam, flutes, or honeycomb.
- "ALUCOBOND® A2". Alucobond. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- "The original aluminium composite is Dibond". Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- "Delron Inserts for Honeycomb and Sandwich Panels" (pdf). Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- Wiki on sandwich materials from FP7 research project PRIME - be welcome
- Advances in fluorpolymer resins for long life coatings, ACG Chemicals Americas