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What are the opportunities for pultruded composites in energy efficient buildings?
August 1, 2022
Pultrusion is a continuous process of manufacturing scrap with constant cross-section. Combining "pull" and "squeeze", pultrusion stretches the material as opposed to the extrusion that pushes the material.
In a report, the European Pultrusion Technology Association (EPTA) outlines how pultruded composites can be used to improve the thermal performance of building envelopes to meet increasingly stringent energy efficiency regulations. EPTA's report "Opportunities for Pultruded Composites in Energy Efficient Buildings" presents energy efficient pultrusion solutions to a variety of building challenges.
"Increasingly stringent regulations and standards for the U-value (heat loss value) of building elements have led to increased use of energy-efficient materials and structures. Pultruded profiles offer an attractive combination of properties for the construction of energy-efficient buildings: Low thermal conductivity to minimize thermal bridging while providing excellent mechanical properties, durability and design freedom". EPTA Secretary Dr. Elmar Witten said so.
Energy-saving doors and windows
According to EPTA, fiberglass direct rovings are the material of choice for high-quality window systems, outperforming wood, PVC and aluminum alternatives overall. Pultruded frames can last up to 50 years or more, require minimal maintenance, and limit thermal bridges, so less heat is transferred through the frame, thus avoiding subsequent condensation and mold problems. Pultruded profiles maintain dimensional stability and strength even in extreme heat and cold, and expand at a rate similar to glass, reducing failure rates. Pultruded window systems have very low U-values, resulting in significant energy and cost savings.
Insulated concrete sandwich elements are often used in the construction of modern fiberglass mesh for building facades. The outer layer of concrete is usually connected to the inner layer with steel rods. However, this has the potential to create thermal bridges that allow heat to be transferred between the interior and exterior of the building. When high thermal insulation values are required, steel connectors are replaced by pultruded composite rods, "interrupting" heat flow and increasing the U-value of the finished wall.
The solar heat brought by the large area of glass can cause the interior of the building to overheat, and energy-intensive air conditioners must be installed. As a result, "brise soleils" (shading devices) are increasingly being used on the exterior of buildings to control the light and solar heat entering the building and reduce energy requirements. Pultruded composites are an attractive alternative to traditional fiberglass building materials because of their high strength and rigidity, light weight, ease of installation, corrosion resistance and low maintenance requirements, and dimensional stability over a wide temperature range sex.
Rainscreen cladding is a popular, cost-effective way to insulate and fiber mesh for waterproofing buildings. The lightweight, corrosion-resistant composite material acts as the primary waterproofing layer, providing a durable solution for the outer "skin" of the panel. Composite materials are also used as infill in modern aluminum framed curtain wall systems. Projects are also underway to make glass façades using pultruded framing systems, and composites offer great potential to reduce thermal bridges associated with traditional aluminum-glass façade framing, without compromising glazing area.