Editors' Picks

July 01, 2006 |

Hit me with Your Best Shot

In hurricane zones, wall panels need to withstand gale force winds up to 130 mph to meet building codes, but that doesn't mean architects have to specify heavy, expensive walls, thanks to a new aluminum composite material system. By introducing a thin layer of fabric made from DuPont Kevlar fiber between Reynobond aluminum skins and a polyethylene core, Alcoa has created a flexible aluminum composite material that can, on its own, withstand hurricane-propelled debris. Reynobond ACM is currently going through the approval process for the Miami-Dade building code. During in-house testing, Reynobond withstood impacts from a two-by-four propelled at 130 mph, the equivalent of category 3 hurricane force winds.

Alcoa & DuPont

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Leds Power Candles, What can't they do?

Wireless and weather resistant, the Aurelle LED Candle Series consists of four elements: frosted-glass cover, LED candle, recharger, and adapter. The glass cover is available in four shapes: round, triangle, square, and tulip. The rechargeable candle consists of two LED units that provide a soft glow—akin to that of a candle flame—for up to 10 hours of continuous light.


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Can't Touch this

Amid heightened concerns about personal protection and security from both human and natural threats, a new line of transparent armor glazing laminates designed by GE Advanced Materials protects buildings against ballistics, forced entry, and bomb blast. Armorgard, Suregard, and Lexgard laminates have been tested to absorb up to 57 psi—the equivalent of 4,300 pounds of TNT detonated from 115 feet away—and may withstand gunfire from weapons ranging from 9mm handguns to 7.62mm high-powered rifles. Other benefits: heat resistance, energy absorption, and anti-spall properties.

GE Advanced Materials

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Regular Glass is Green with Envy

Unlike traditional clear glass, which typically displays a light green cast, the clarity of PPG Industries' Starphire Ultra-Clear glass intensifies as it gets thicker, allowing architects to incorporate an enhanced level of sleekness and clarity into their building designs. It's often used for storefronts, skylights, display windows, security glass, and atriums where exceptional transparency is desired. Available in 15mm and 19mm thicknesses.


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Membrane Won't Get you Down

SolarSave membranes encapsulate high-efficiency crystalline PV cells in high-performance composite materials laminated under heat and pressure to create lightweight, waterproof, fire-rated, and aesthetically appealing solar roofing membranes for flat or low-slope commercial, industrial, and residential projects. The system installs over existing roofs. Available with a 48×50-inch active solar area (240 W nominal power) and a 48×96-inch active solar area (480 W nominal power).

Open Energy Corp.

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Panels with a High-Tech Look

Incorporating Alucobond in a brick structure can change its appearance from traditional to high-tech. It consists of two sheets of 0.02-inch aluminum thermobonded to a plastic core. Lightweight but rigid, the material can be fabricated into curves or crisp folds. Created in 1969 as the original aluminum composite material, Alucobond can be used in a wide range of structures, including academic buildings, as well as for interiors, signage, and the fabrication of curtain wall systems and cladding.

Alcan Composites USA

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Dare to Dream

Less than 1½ inches in thickness, Dream Panels can replace hefty light boxes, often more than 8 inches thick, while using 70% less energy. The fiber optic panels disperse light with 96% uniformity over surfaces as large as 4×8 feet. Units are powered by 6W fluorescent bulbs the size of pencil lead, which are two to five times brighter and contain 1/1500th the mercury content of traditional fluorescents.

Visual Dimensions

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Coating Process Makes Finishes Shine

Vacuum-coating process, ideal for a variety of products, offers a shiny, long-lasting decorative finish. Unlike traditional plating which tends to tarnish, corrode, and peel, it's physical vapor deposition coating process is corrosion-resistant.

Haws Corp.

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Renewable Doors

Wood doors created from renewable agricultural fibers such as wheat straw and sunflower hulls, and are bonded together with formaldehyde-free resins. Qualifying for LEED credits in multiple categories, the doors come in a variety of strengths: rated to meet 20-minute positive pressure fire ratings, or 45-minute and 60-minute fire ratings (in limited sizes).

VT Industries

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