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First Facade Panels in Place on the Largest Composite Building in the World

25 July 2011

The first panels of the Stedelijk Museum are already in place on what will eventually become known as THE BATHTUB.

According to Teijin, after coating, the white and seemingly floating construction will be the counterpart of the adjacent historic brick building from 1895. They say, they produced and donated the Twaron (aramid fibre) and Tenax (carbon fibre) for the composite used to create the facade. This, along with a financial contribution, makes them one of the Main Founders of the Stedelijk Museum.

The facade, designed by BenthemCrouwel Architects, consists of a single surface and covers an area of about 3000 square meters. Teijin provided a solution that minimised thermal expansion of the material in order to obtain a seamless effect. The design, development, and production of the façade required creativity and input from several experts. Ultimately, the key to the solution was found in the Twaron and Tenax fibres.

Teijin explain that an analysis, provided by the engineering firm Solico, showed that an optimal solution would consist of a sandwich construction. The construction consists of an inner skin and outer skin of a composite laminate of resin, strengthened by Twaron and Tenax fibres. They say that, where the resin expands as the temperature rises, both Twaron and Tenax fibres, due to their negative longitudinal thermal expansion coefficient, behave oppositely and the result is a composite panel with minimal thermal expansion.

The composite for the seamless 100 meter facade expands by only 1 mm per degree Celsius temperature rise.

Teijin provided Twaron and Tenax fibres to Holland Composites for the production of the panels, and a unidirectional fabric was produced as an intermediate product. Holland Composites produced the panels for the facade from the fabrics, vinylester resin and a PIR foam core. The inner skin and outer skin of the sandwich construction consist of two Twaron fabrics with a Tenax fabric in between. The fibres are perpendicularly oriented to each other.

In all, the facade consists of 271 loose elements containing 4850 kg of Twaron and 4050 kg of Tenax. The panels are mounted on site and glued together using a connecting laminate in order for the facade to form a single unit.






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