Thermo-mechanical Investigation of Novel GFRP-glass Sandwich Facade Components
Modern building envelopes are typically high-technological systems that need to meet strict requirements regarding architectural intent, structural capacity, energy-efficiency and durability. The study presented in this paper is based on recent research performed at the Glass & Façade Technology Research Group (University of Cambridge) that investigates high-performance engineered unitised systems as an alternative to traditional curtain-walls for building facades. The proposed unitised systems has a sandwich design made of two outer glass face sheets separated by, and bonded to, glass fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP) pultruded profiles. This arrangement results in a lightweight and slim structure that could potentially provide high structural and thermal performances. Results discussed in this paper constitute a preliminary outcome of an extended investigation aimed to assess and compare, by means of Finite Element (FE) numerical simulations, the thermal and structural performances of novel frame-integrated (GFRP-glass) sandwich systems and traditional non-integrated frame curtain wall systems. The reported FE results, as shown, give evidence of the potential of the novel design concept, with improved thermal and structural performances compared to traditional non-integrated systems (up to +10% and +15%, respectively).