Lightweight polystyrene-based brick façade
A lightweight polystyrene-based insulating building façade with an outer layer of super-thin bricks has been created by GWL International, an offsite manufacturing company based in Zhengzhou, China. The façade is claimed to be cheaper and easier to assemble than conventional brick walls, and better insulated than other lightweight insulation surfaces.
The system is composed of a thermal insulation layer made up of extruded polystyrene board or expanded polystyrene, a strengthening layer of alkali-resistant fiberglass mesh, and a decorative outer layer of four millimetre super-thin bricks.
A modified epoxy resin adhesive holds the layers togther, with a silicone sealant and thermal insulation mortar used to fill the gaps.
The resulting façade is between 30-100mm thick and 8-9kg/m2 in weight. It saves ‘at least three-quarters of the construction time, compared to current technologies,’ says Li Bingyin of GWL, who invented the system. The conductivity of the material is between 0.024 and 0.041W/mK, the tensile strength is under 0.1MPa, and its water absorption rate is below three per cent. The system has undergone 30 freeze-thaw cyclic tests without any breakages appearing.
Price and ease of installation are the biggest advantages of this system, says Bingyin.
‘Most other insulation boards use super-thin aluminium, the cost of which is extremely high – around RMB400/m2 [£29.46/m2]. Our product is a composite board, so the price is more reasonable – between RMB90-110/m2 [£6.63-8.10/m2] (not including labour costs).’
The system can be applied directly onto aerated blocks, eliminating the need for an outer wall, and can be installed at a rate of approximately 15m2 per day.
The company is looking for partners to transfer its façade technology into the UK construction industry.