Aluminum curtain walls are thin aluminum-framed walls with thin stone, glass, or metal panels as in-fills. The aluminum curtain wall’s framing is attached to the building structure and doesn’t carry any roof or floor loads. Gravity and wind loads are transferred to the structure, usually at the floor line.
Aluminum curtain walls have been distinctive in modern architecture and expansively adopted commercially. Demand for curtain walls has immensely boosted commercial glaziers and glass manufacturers. It’s among the most in-demand glazing systems adding to a robust and aesthetic design to buildings and multiple commercial advantages.
Aluminum curtain walls’ basic function is creating an exterior envelope providing thermal insulation, protection from environmental forces, and sound attenuation while permitting light to enter the building. Aluminum frames support the glass panels held in place through various adhesive or mechanical means.
Curtain walls are installed in front of concrete slabs providing buildings with a continuous uniform and waterproof envelope. Architects and engineers highly approve of these features because of their architectural and technical performance qualities.
Often, aluminum curtain walls consist of specific components that play vital roles in the setup’s overall functioning. The components include the following:
The structure consists of an aluminum frame that acts as the curtain wall system’s backbone. Often, the frame is designed from extruded aluminum profiles joined together to create a grid-like pattern. The aluminum frame supports the glass panels and is a barrier against water and air infiltration.
Sealants help fill gaps between glass panels and aluminum frames to prevent water and air infiltration. Sealants also help reduce vibrations that could transfer to the structure’s aluminum backbone. They also absorb sounds.
These are the most visible components of aluminum curtain wall systems. Often, these are designed with laminated or tempered glass meant to withstand impact and various environmental forces like wind. The glass panels may be clear coated, tinted, or have low-emissivity coatings that enhance thermal insulation.
Anchors help attach aluminum frames to a building’s structure. Anchors are designed from stainless steel and are meant to resist various forces that act on the curtain wall system. These include forces such as seismic loads and wind.
Insulation helps provide sound attenuation and thermal insulation between the building structure and aluminum frame. Insulation also helps reduce potential condensation on the curtain wall system’s interior surface.
Installing an aluminum curtain wall involves the following:
This part of designing the curtain wall system is often done by engineers or architects who specify the profiles, materials, and dimensions of glass panels, the aluminum frame, and other structure parts.
Glass panels and aluminum frames are fabricated off the construction site following the specifications in the design. Once done, the components are transported for installation at the building site.
Typically, installing the aluminum curtain wall system involves attaching its anchors to the primary building’s structure, securing the aluminum frame, and placing the glass panels. Insulation and sealants are applied last to fill any gaps present between components.
Once installed, aluminum curtain walls are tested for specified performance criteria. These include air infiltration, structural stability, and water penetration. Once it passes all these tests, the aluminum curtain wall is fit to use.
Aluminum curtain walls provide reliable noise cancellation with proper design and installation. The setup incorporates sound-absorbing materials and effective sound transmission loss designs. The designs include an air-tight barrier and dense materials that absorb and reflect sound waves.
Effective aluminum curtain wall designs can reduce air leakage in buildings, improving thermal performance by controlling cool drafts. Additionally, the walls are designed with glass and glazing’s that have an e-coating. These features help regulate the building’s internal temperatures more effectively. Additionally, adequate thermal breaks can improve the aluminum curtain wall’s performance.
Aluminum curtain walls are an effective construction technique that offers several benefits in modern construction. The setup incorporates advantages from various elements to create a sustainable design that provides improved thermo-regulation, noise reduction, etc., properties. Additionally, the system also helps provide natural light and aesthetic qualities.
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