Research and Development update – 15.04.2021
Project ID: 126.96.36.199/18/A/008. Final progress report and project summary.
A metal backing system was developed throughout the course of the project, which is meant to reinforce the GRC panel against external loads and allows for the panel weight to be carried and fixed to the façade. Throughout the research, development was ongoing on the technological manufacturing process, potential connective fixing solutions with the load-bearing structure were explored with adjustment possibilities kept in mind. Additionally, the GRC recipe for the Brick textured panels, as well as the bonding procedure between the panel and the backing frame were developed while considering the physical properties of both materials. A special attention was given to the development of a concealed fixing method which would lend itself to be obscured when looking at the façade. During the project, two types of brick alternatives were developed with the use of GRC – a panel with brick slip (tile) surface, creating a natural adhesion between the tile and the GRC mass; as well as a GRC panel which is textured as a brick and one that resembles brick in colour too. In the final stages of the project, the safety and durability of the panels and the backing system were tested. This process was done with the assistance of outsourced service providers – science and research organizations – Riga Technical University and Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies.
To conclude, the research process has resulted in an optimal solution for a fast, straight-forward, and economically viable connection procedure between the panel and the backing frame. The final system is easy to install and remove without impairing the durability or performance of the load-bearing structure. Moreover, this product stands out among its competition as a fully A1 rated system, in accordance with EN 13501-1 Reaction to Fire testing standards, while being a lot lighter than a traditional masonry build-up. This product allows for the possibility to execute never before seen designs and the use of modern façade construction solutions.
The system has been put through various testing to ensure its performance capabilities, competitiveness within the market, and export feasibility. The target market of this product is the United Kingdom, where brick facades are in high regard and the demand is plentiful. The brick alternatives with the aid of GRC are a highly attractive substitute due to cost, speed, and safety reasons.