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    Adhesive technology, designing and engineering facades with confidence.

    December 17, 2020
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    • Adhesive technology, designing and engineering facades with confidence.

      When it comes to commercial and industrial structures, the most significant and predominant architectural element in both aesthetics and technical efficiency is the facade. The facade envelopes the building,s external face like a skin, and just like the skin covering the human body it serves as the primary barrier, safeguarding against the elements, be it wind, rain hail or shine. Facades are a big-budget expense and are often thought of as one of the high-risk features of large building projects as they need to perform to their intended design specifications while adapting to the constant environmental pressures thrust upon them. Each building is different, involving varying levels of design, engineering and manufacturing complexity, with this in mind, eliminating the risks of failure in all components that make up the facade is critical.

    • Facade design and engineering.

      With the science involved in designing and constructing today’s intricate modern facades that surround and enclose buildings, specialist companies solely dedicated to this niche segment have evolved. Known as facade engineering, this new specialty in the engineering realm work on a variety of projects from small to large scale operations covering two significant disciplines: new build facades and remedial works. Facade engineers look at ways to make buildings more environmentally sustainable, for example, by trying to prevent heat penetration while allowing light to enter, a critical aspect in reducing the load in their services. More importantly, they tackle structural issues, working closely with architects, building owners, construction managers and product manufacturers on all aspects of design, certification, fabrication and installation to achieve the best outcome that ensures safe, compliant structures.

      Of utmost importance is the effectiveness of all materials used in the construction or remediation of the facade, not only regarding aesthetic appearance but structural behaviour. Facade engineers look at the long term performance to eliminate the risk of failures of any of the components such as fasteners, tapes and adhesives used in the fabrication of architectural facade panels that could lead to catastrophic consequences. Today the complexity of facades have evolved beyond the skills of architects, structural and mechanical engineers. So much so that dedicated facade engineers have honed their skills to engage in the design, manufacture and installation more efficiently and more comprehensively. Shaping innovative and at times unconventional facade designs engineered to defy the laws of physics to bring them to life, held together by tape. In this respect, the availability and scrutiny of manufacturer test data are of particular importance.

    • Walt Disney Concert Hall

      The freedom to imagine, can buildings be made with tape?

      Tapes allow architects, engineers, artists, contractors and creators of all kinds to reimagine their relationship with building materials and break free from the constraints of rigid joints and inflexible materials. It provides the freedom to open up a world of new possibilities to create architectural design magic.

      The iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall is a classic curvaceous masterpiece of architecture and engineering. The facade is a composition of undulating and angled forms, symbolising musical movement - and tape is at the heart of it, playing a significant role in holding the metal cladding together, helping it to stand tall as it copes with high temperatures and strong winds. When it came to bonding metal facade panels to the stiffeners on the spectacular Walt Disney Concert Hall, acclaimed architect Frank Gehry didn’t choose welds, screws or rivets. He opted for tape, 3M™ VHB™ Tape, to create a seamless facade with invisible fastenings for clean, smooth surfaces and free-flowing forms that enhanced the design and appearance.

      A tape so strong that it helps hold up the 6,100 curving stainless steel sections of the L.A.Concert Hall, with each sheet weighing 66 kg, a massive 403 tonnes of steel. Because no two panels are the same shape, the 3M™ VHB™ tape helps keep them in constant with the backing structure, no matter how the facade curves.

    • 3M™ VHB™ Tapes for architectural panel applications.

      3M™ VHB™ Tape GPH-160GF

      3M™ VHB™ Architectural Panel Tapes are high-performance double-sided pressure sensitive acrylic foam tapes used in the fabrication of architectural panel systems, including aluminium composite material (ACM) panels and plate metal panels (aluminium and stainless steel). In some cases, stiffeners can be attached before liquid paint or powder coat processes involving a paint-bake cycle or post-paint.

      Compared to other types of double-sided foam tapes, 3M™ VHB™ tape is a solid adhesive system on a roll – where all of the tape is comprised of viscoelastic acrylic pressure-sensitive adhesive. This feature gives VHB™ tape strength and durability that is not possible with regular double-sided tape.

      In the fabrication of facades, the benefits to fabricators and project managers include:

      • Increased productivity - immediate handling strength reduces assembly and delivery times and reduces cost.
      • Fabrication flexibility - allows the potential for factory or site fabrication, with VHB™ there are fewer production constraints such as liquid adhesive pumps or welding equipment.
      • Consistency in fabrication - no variability in bond thickness/width, and no curing variability.
      • Flexibility - allows slower differential movement due to heating/cooling, yet provides high stiffness for resisting wind loads, ensuring more robust panels.
      • Improved appearance over traditional fastening methods - the potential to eliminate screws, rivets and welds.
      • Increased manufacturing efficiency - through reduced touch points and streamlined processes.

      Typical applications include attachment of:

      • Exterior architectural panels
      • Building cladding
      • Panel stiffeners including bonding pre-paint baked cycles
      • Interior architectural panels
      • Decorative metal and trim

    • 3M™ VHB™ Tape test data for facade engineers.

      When it comes to architectural panel applications that utilise adhesives in the assembly of stiffener panels, the availability of test data for facade engineers is of considerable importance. Our application experts are here to consult with your team to determine the correct 3M™ VHB™ Tapes for your product design and production process. Trialled to the limits of real-world applications VHB™ adhesives have succeeded everywhere they have been used. For specifiers and facade engineers, VHB™ Architectural panel tapes have been extensively tested for facade bonding applications allowing you to design with confidence. Available data includes:

      1. Well established limit state strength values, and conservative design strength values

      a. Dynamic Loads: For dynamic tensile or shear loads, such as wind loads, a design strength of 85 kPa is used for 3M™ VHB™ Architectural Panel Tapes. This design strength guideline provides a safety factor of >5 and was established based on material property testing as well as ASTM dynamic load testing for curtain wall applications.

      b. Static Loads: For static tensile or shear loads, such as dead weight loads with no mechanical support, snow loads and other long-term loads, a design strength of 1.7 kPa is used for 3M™ VHB™ Architectural Panel Tapes. This means 60 cm² of tape per 1 kg dead load should be used to support constant stress loads. This guideline provides a safety factor of >5. Static load and dynamic load calculations should be performed on unsupported dead load applications. The calculation resulting in the wider tape width should be used as the appropriate tape width for the specific application.

      c. Differential Movement: 3M™ VHB™ Architectural Panel Tapes can tolerate shear movement up to 3 times its original thickness (300% shear strain). This means 2.3 mm thick tapes can tolerate shear strain up to 6.9 mm for short periods of time - such as daily differential thermal expansion and contraction between panels and stiffeners.

      2. Structural Performance Testing for panel and stiffener bonding - View Technical Bulletin

      3. Accelerated weathering and durability testing - View Technical Bulletin

      4. Heat of combustion and surface burning characteristics.

      5. 40 years of architectural panel bonding experience.

      For approved projects, 3M can provide substrate-specific adhesion testing and project-specific application procedures, together with quality assurance procedures for fabricators.

    • Ask a 3M™ VHB™ Tapes Expert.

      3M™ VHB™ Tapes help you design beyond the limits of mechanical fasteners, to build better products, improve productivity and enhance performance. Contact a 3M Industrial Adhesive & Tape Specialist who can help you find the correct VHB™ Tapes for your project, product design or production process.

      Experience the strength and reliability of 3M™ VHB™ Tapes for architectural panel applications. Contact a 3M Expert today to help you find the correct VHB™ Tapes for your project, product design or production process.

      Ask a 3M™ VHB™ Tapes Expert.

      Designers / installers are to seek independent advice to determine the suitability and use of VHB tapes and compliance with the National Construction Code for a particular project.