What is aluminum curtain wall?

Nov 08, 2023

An aluminum curtain wall is a type of building envelope system that is used to create an exterior wall facade, primarily in commercial or high-rise buildings. It is a non-structural system consisting of vertically or horizontally installed aluminum framing members, often referred to as mullions and transoms, that support glazing panels. The term "curtain wall" describes the non-load-bearing nature of the system as it hangs like a curtain from the building's structural frame.

Here are the key features and components of an aluminum curtain wall:

1. Aluminum Framing: 

The curtain wall system is primarily constructed using aluminum frames due to their lightweight, durability, and corrosion resistance. The frames are typically extruded with specific profiles to accommodate the installation of glazing panels.

2. Glazing Panels: 

The main purpose of a curtain wall system is to provide a transparent or translucent facade. Various types of glazing panels can be used, such as glass, tempered glass, laminated glass, insulated glass, or other translucent materials like polycarbonate or acrylic.

3. Mullions and Transoms: 

The aluminum framing members, known as mullions (vertical) and transoms (horizontal), support and connect the glazing panels. Mullions and transoms are designed to provide structural support, accommodate thermal expansion and contraction, and provide a weathertight seal.

4. Weatherproofing: 

Curtain walls incorporate weatherproofing measures to prevent air and water infiltration. Gaskets, seals, and weatherstripping are used at the joints between the framing members and glazing panels to provide a barrier against wind, rain, and temperature changes.

5. Thermal Performance: 

To enhance energy efficiency, curtain walls can be designed with thermal breaks, which are insulating materials placed within the aluminum framing components to reduce heat transfer and improve the overall thermal performance of the system.

6. Design Flexibility: 

Aluminum curtain walls offer design flexibility and can be customized to meet the specific architectural requirements of a building. They allow for different sizes, shapes, and configurations, including curved or sloped facades.

Aluminum curtain walls offer several benefits, including aesthetic appeal, natural light transmission, weather protection, durability, and the ability to integrate with other building systems. They are commonly used in modern architectural designs to create visually striking and functional exteriors for commercial buildings, office complexes, hotels, and high-rise structures.

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