Sandwich panels have traditionally been used as covering and isolating components in buildings, thus being secondary structural components of the building. But sandwich panels also have a high resistance to in-plane shear and axial forces to improve the structural behaviour of steel constructions. These characteristics can also be used for constructions completely abandoning a load-bearing substructure. Although there is expierience in practice there is not enough scientific verification yet and this is a barrier for making sandwich panels applicable in a much broader range. This on the other hand targets on the improvement of the market environment particulary for SMEs like ECP. The company is producing panels for building, chill room and further applications and dominatesWP3 assisted by the RTD performer University of Karlsruhe.
WP3 already finished deliverable D3.1, the survey report defining the types of wall frames for the experimental and analytical investigations. Currently, the tests on the stabilising effects of panels on purlins are performed. Figure 1 shows the principle test assembly: The purlin is rotated around its axis and the force required for this rotation is measured. During the tests, different levels of the gravity loading are applied. As a result of these tests, the load-bearing capacity of purlins covered by sandwich panels can be increased. This will be a head start in the market of products covering buildings. These tests and their complementary numerical and theoretical investigations will be compiled in deliverableD3.2which has to be presented in 2010.
Parallel to these tests, the preparations for the tests investigating the resistance to in-plane shear and axial forces are running. Furthermore a simple application of a sandwich building without any load-bearing substructure is constructed at the premises of ECP (Figure 2). It base upon ECP's experience in constructing of small sized modules and will serve as a demonstrator, allowing long-time investigations on such applications under realistic loading conditions parallel to testing procedures and investigationsabovementioned.