What are Sandwich Panels?
Sandwich panel is the name given to a construction material in the form of a sandwich. An insulating agent is sandwiched between two metal sheets which are mostly aluminum or stainless steel or between two non-metal laminates. The insulating agent is mostly mineral wool, polyurethane, polystyrene, honeycombs etc.
Where are Sandwich Panels used?
Sandwich panels are used where insulation is required though not limited to just insulation. They are used in facades, cold storage doors, ceilings, transport vehicle cabins, walls etc. with the primary purpose of insulating the desired area. Commercial, storage and industrial occupancies including offices,
Why Sandwich Panels are Preferred?
Sandwich panels are preferred due to their light weight and exotic look. The low initial cost required for the installation of these panels is also a major reason why sandwich panels are preferred by many these days.
Fire Hazards Associated with Sandwich Panels
The fire resistance properties in such construction are not equivalent to normal RCC wall construction. Major fire hazard associated with sandwich panels is due to the presence of combustible materials in its composition. Polyurethane and other materials used for insulation in between the metal sheets are generally flammable.
Sandwich Panels - Fire Prevention Measures
• Use sandwich panels with non combustible construction such as
• Avoid hot work close to combustible sandwich panels.
• Avoid flammable or combustible material storage near panels.
• Inspect the sheets over the insulation material for any cracks, defects.
• Installation of machinery, electrical fittings near such panels
• Where forklift movement or material movement is carried out installation of barriers may be considered.
Sandwich Panels - Fire Protection Measures
Places where sandwich panels are installed are often suggested to be installed with automatic sprinkler protection system and automatic detection system. Apart from those the fire protection at site is supported if equipped with hydrant system and hose reels.
A fire loss report mentioned how a meat processing plant went into blazes due to the high usage of sandwich panels in the construction and how the non-availability of fire protection systems made the conditions worst. Such fires not only cause loss of facilities but also hamper production or routine work consequently resulting into severe business interruption losses.
The use of sandwich panels is constantly increasing in different facilities but the associated hazards shall also be considered while going for the installations.