Curtain Wall

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Classification of curtain walls.

Transcript of Curtain Wall



Page 1 of 38


Curtain WallContents1. History 2. Design 2.1 Loads 2.2 Infiltration 2.3 Deflection 2.4 Strength 2.5 Thermal Criteria 3. In-fills 3.1 Glass 3.2 Stone Veneer 3.3 Panels 3.4 Louvers 3.5 Windows and Vents 4. Fire safety 5. Maintenance and repair 6. See also Mullion WallCURTAIN WALL 2

Curtain wallIs a term used to describe a building faade which does not carry any dead load from the building other than its own dead load, and one which transfers the horizontal loads (wind loads) that are incident upon it. These loads are transferred to the main building structure through connections at floors or columns of the building. A curtain wall is designed to resist air and water infiltration, wind forces acting on the building, seismic forces (usually only those imposed by the inertia of the curtain wall), and its own dead load forces. Curtain walls are typically designed with extruded aluminium members, although the first curtain walls were made of steel. The aluminium frame is typically infilled with glass, which provides an architecturally pleasing building, as well as benefits such as daylighting. However, parameters related to solar gain control such as thermal comfort and visual comfort are more difficult to control when using highly-glazed curtain walls. Other common infills include: stone veneer, metal panels, louvers, and operable windows or vents. Curtain walls differ from storefront systems in that they are designed to span multiple floors, and take into consideration design requirements such as: thermal expansion and contraction; building sway and movement; water diversion; and thermal efficiency for cost-effective heating, cooling, and lighting in the building.



1-HistorySimilarly, Prior to the middle of the nineteenth century, buildings were constructed with the exterior walls of the building (bearing walls, typically masonry) supporting the load of the entire structure. The development and widespread use of structural steel and later reinforced concrete allowed relatively small columns to support large loads and the exterior walls of buildings were no longer required for structural support. The exterior walls could be non-bearing, and thus much lighter and more open than the masonry bearing walls of the past. This gave way to increased use of glass as an exterior faade, and the modern day curtain wall was born. The first curtain walls were made with steel mullions, and the plate glass was attached to the mullions with asbestos or fiberglass modified glazing compound. Eventually silicone sealants or glazing tape were substituted. Some designs included an outer cap to hold the glass in place and to protect the integrity of the seals. The first curtain wall installed in New York City was this type of construction. Earlier modernist examples are the Bauhaus in Dessau and the Hallidie Building in San Francisco. The 1970s began the widespread use of aluminum extrusions for mullions. Aluminum offers the unique advantage of being able to be easily extruded into nearly any shape required for design and aesthetic purposes. Today, the design complexity and shapes available are nearly limitless. Custom shapes can be designed and manufactured with relative ease. Similarly sealing methods and types have evolved over the years, and as a result, todays curtain walls are high performance systems which require little maintenance.CURTAIN WALL 4

Basic Wall Types1. Custom Type. 2. Standard Type. 3. Combination of the two.




Custom Walls - are those which are designed specifically for oneproject (either a single building or a group of related buildings). Such walls usually, though not necessarily, have substantial areas of glass, and may be used on buildings of any type or size. Typically they are chosen for the more glamorous high-rise structures and for commercial, institutional and monumental buildings of high quality.


Standard Walls - are those which employ components and

details which are designed and standardized by their manufacturer. They may be assembled in stock units, but more often their arrangement is dictated by the architects design. Both custom and standard walls may be further classified to their system or method of installation.



Curtain Wall System1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Stick or Conventional System Unitized System Unit and Mullion System Panel System Column Cover and Spandrel System



1. Stick systems

The vast majority of curtain walls are installed long pieces (referred to as sticks) between floors vertically and between vertical members horizontally. Framing members may be fabricated in a shop environment, but all installation and glazing is typically performed at the jobsite.




1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Installation of Brackets Installation of Mullion Installation of Transom Installation of Spandrel Fixing of Window Sill Installation of Vision Fixing of Mullion Trim or Internal Closure



2. Unitized systems

Unitized curtain walls entail factory fabrication and assembly of panels and may include factory glazing. These completed units are hung on the building structure to form the building enclosure. Unitized curtain wall has the advantages of: speed; lower field I installation costs; and quality control within an interior climate controlled environment. The economic benefits are typically realized on large projects or in areas of high field labor rates.




1. 2.

Installation of Installation of Brackets Framed Units



3. Unit and Mullion systemsAs the term implies, is a compromise between the two previously described system. In this system the mullion members are separately installed first, then pre-assembled frame units are placed between them. These units may be full story height, or they maybe divided into spandrel unit and a vision glass unit. The system is often employed when the mullion sections are unusually deep or large in cross section, making it impractical to incorporate them as part of a pre-assembled unit. The advantages and disadvantages of this system are generally comparable to those of the unit system. The shipping bulk of the units themselves is somewhat less, because of the omission of the mullion section, but the amount of field labor, field jointing and erection time is likely to be somewhat greater.



UNIT & MULLION INSTALLATION METHOD1. 2. 3. 4. Installation of Brackets Installation of Mullion Installation of Pre-cast Window Units Fixing of Internal Mullion Trim



4. Panel SystemsThis system is similar in concept to the unit system, the chief difference being that the panels are not pre-assembled formed units but homogenous unit formed from sheet metal or as castings, with a few if any internal joints except at the glass periphery. The panels may be full storey height, with or without opening for glazing, or may be smaller units. Unlike the other three systems, the panel system usually provides an overall pattern for the wall, rather than grid pattern or a design having strong vertical or horizontal accents.



5. Column cover and Spandrel SystemsThis system is relatively recent development, compared with the other four systems, all of which have been in use for at least twentyfive years. It may, in fact, be questioned whether the use of this design concept has been sufficient to warrant its classification as a system, but its popularity appears to be increasing. As its name implies, the elements of this system consists of column cover sections, long spandrel units which may be either pre-assemblies or separate framing members and glass.




1.2. 3.

Installation of Column Cover Section Installation of Mullion Installation of Glazing Unit



Rain Screen PrincipleA common feature in curtain wall technology, the rain-screen principle theorizes that equilibrium of air pressure between the outside and inside of the "rain-screen" prevents water penetration into the building itself. For example the glass is captured between an inner and an outer gasket in a space called the glazing rebate. The glazing rebate is ventilated to the exterior so that the pressure on the inner and outer sides of the exterior gasket is the same. When the pressure is equal across this gasket water cannot be drawn through joints or defects in the gasket.



2-DesignCurtain wall systems must be designed to handle all loads imposed on it as well as keep air and water from penetrating the building envelope. 2.1 LOADS The loads imposed on the curtain wall are transferred to the building structure through the anchors which attach the mullions to the building. The building structure needs to be designed and account for these loads. Dead load Dead load is defined as the weight of structural elements and the permanent features on the structure. In the case of curtain walls, this load is made up of the weight of the mullions, anchors, and other structural components of the curtain wall, as well as the weight of the infill material. Additional dead loads imposed on the curtain wall, such as sunshades, must be accounted for in the design of the curtain wall components and anchors. Wind load Wind load acting on the building is the result of wind blowing on the building. This wind pressure must be resisted by