Dupont, Alcoa Collaborate On Hurricane-Resistant Panel

A product developed by DuPont and Alcoa for the commercial building and construction market, Reynobond with Kevlar provides protection against the damage

A product developed by DuPont and Alcoa for the commercial building and construction market, Reynobond with Kevlar provides protection against the damage of hurricane wind-borne debris. Potentially competing with precast, masonry and cast-in-place concrete walls, the product is touted as the culmination of both companies’ application of technical expertise in high-strength materials technology. It comprises a durable architectural panel system designed to withstand wind-borne debris and wind speeds common in hurricanes up to a Category 3 storm. (Category 3 hurricanes have wind speeds up to 130 mph.)

Reynobond made with Kevlar-brand fiber helps to protect building fa“ades from hurricane-propelled debris by acting as a safety net. It is said by developers to combine the weight and flexibility of Alcoa’s Reynobond aluminum composite material with the impact-resistance of DuPont Kevlar fiber. Partnering with DuPont provided Alcoa the opportunity to enhance our lightweight Reynobond aluminum composite material, bringing it to a new level of effectiveness by inserting DuPont’s ultra-strong Kevlar fabric into the architectural panel, notes Eric Bassel, president of Alcoa Architectural Products.

Introducing a thin layer of fabric made from Kevlar fiber between Reynobond aluminum skins and a polyethylene core, Alcoa has created a light, flexible aluminum composite material sufficient to withstand hurricane-propelled debris. The superior strength-to-weight ratio of the aluminum composite, Alcoa officials contend, is enhanced by the high strength of DuPont Kevlar brand fiber, which is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis. Kevlar is used as the life-saving material in bullet-resistant vests and body armor. In this application, Kevlar provides superior impact resistance, just as it does in supplying a protective barrier around jet turbine blades and aircraft luggage containers to help shield passengers from flying debris in the event of an explosion.

Panels of Reynobond with Kevlar reportedly have passed rigorous simulated hurricane impact tests conducted by Hurricane Test Laboratory, LLC in Florida. Testing included the large missile impact test, involving a 9-lb., 2 _ 4 timber traveling at 50 feet per second, as stipulated by the Miami-Dade Building Code. Official approval of the product from the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Office is pending.

Company officials note that Reynobond with Kevlar is a suitable cladding material for commercial office and public building fa∏ades, including schools, libraries, museums, hospitals and other small and mid-sized structures, particularly in hurricane-prone areas like the U.S. Gulf region. Among its stated benefits are cost-effectiveness, because no protective backer material is needed; easy installation; and, low maintenance. Panels can be shop-fabricated and quickly installed onto studs, significantly reducing installation time and labor costs. Reynobond with Kevlar will be available initially throughout U.S. hurricane-related markets from Texas to Florida and north along the Atlantic seaboard.