Polystirene, for building purposes, is utilized as the core of Laminated Sandwich Panels. These panels are a 3, ply laminated structure functioning as an integral unit and composed of alternating dissimilar materials referred to as facings and cores. The facings are relatively thin, strong and dense, while the cores are relatively thick, light and low in density.
All laminated sandwich panels are based on the design principle that, in bending, the largest part of the load is carried near the extreme fibers of the beam, and very small bending stresses are developed near the neutral axis. This principle is best illustrated by a analogy with the I-BEAM theory: The facing or skin material of a sandwich panel acts as the flanges of an I-BEAM and the core is equivalent to the web. Therefore, extremely strong, lightweight panels can be made by using high strength materials as facings and lightweight, low-cost Insulation as the core. As with I-BEAMS, the thicker the core (web) the greater the resistance to bending and the longer the distance that the beam
or panel can span.
The photograph of a column load test shown at the right is to underscore a very important point ... when used as a wall, these panels act as a column and will carry loads up to ten (10) times that of conventional frame construction. Insulated building panels are not limited to single level construction when used as exterior walls. The architect has a great deal of freedom as to designing of multi-level structures while maintaining all of the cost saving that come with using insulated building panels.
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