- Introduction

Element façades are composed out of individual pre-fabricated elements. This results in a fast and economic

installation with limited use of resources in manpower and tooling compared to traditional curtain walls. Element facades are applied in many utilization buildings. These systems are often the eye catcher of the building. They integrate many functions, amongst which is the load bearing resistance against the self-weight of the glass panel and the wind load.

The company Reynaers has developed a new type of unitized element façade that can be easily adapted for specific requirements, and is therefore applicable to many structures. Question is, what is the structural resistance of this system? Is the aluminium façade structure capable of transferring the applied loads? Can the system be optimized with respect to the structural resistance, without jeopardizing the other functions of the system?

- Goal of the study

To determine the force distribution inside the curtain wall system and its different components (including aluminium and polymer sections and joints). To determine the structural resistance of the different components and their composite behaviour. To determine the load bearing resistance of the system. To evaluate the design and propose improvements.

- Approach

You consider the façade structure as designed in a certain – to be defined – example project and determine the three-dimensional force distribution through hand calculations, possibly assisted by a finite element analyses. This provides the internal forces per section and joint. You evaluate the resistance of the sections and joints. To determine the required material properties of the polymer sections, tests may have to be performed. The same applies to the composite working between polymer and aluminium sections. The resistance can be based on these tests in combination with hand calculations and finite element analyses. You will be working in close collaboration with the engineers at the company Reynaers. Tests can be carried out at Reynaers and/or the mechanical laboratory of Eindhoven University of Technology.