Due to the optimal combination of space enclosing, heat insulating and supporting function, steel sandwich panels are used for roof and wall cladding more and more frequently. In addition, free forms are playing an increasingly important role in contemporary architecture. The availability of flexible curved sandwich panels would be an option to realize buildings with such free form structures.
As part of the interdisciplinary research project of architects, civil engineers and mechanical engineers the necessary manufacturing foundations for the economic production of curved flexible sandwich panels with thin cover plates and an understanding of the mechanical behavior of the curved elements are to be determined. As a result of the project an architectural design tool for designing free-form surface structures is planned, which considers both mechanical as well as production related restrictions.
In the long-term the inclusion of curved sandwich elements in the European standard EN 14509 is pursued.
If the development of shell structures made of curved steel sandwich panels and their manufacturing is economically possible completely new markets can be opened. In the long run this can make sandwich constructions more attractive to the market and further increase the market share of the lightweight steel constructions.
Small and medium sized companies will benefit as well as sandwich panel manufacturers and their suppliers, subcontractors as well as architectural engineering offices. Their market opportunities are significantly improved since the availability of new geometries will provide access to the construction of various types of buildings on the European market. Due to the further development of the existing production process, the economically producible form range can be expanded so that SMEs can achieve individual customer specifications.
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