What is Aluminium Composite?
The material explained.
Aluminium composite is a lightweight panel material which is designed for interior and exterior applications. Originally developed in Europe nearly all Aluminium Composite sheeting is now manufactured in the Far East.
Aluminium Composite sheet has a polyethylene core. This make up 90% of the structure of each sheet. Depending on which brand of Aluminium Composite you use this core will be either a Clear/ Grey or Black colour.
From our experience the colour of the core makes little difference to the performance or machining characteristics of the material.
The polyethylene core of your Aluminium Composite sheet is faced with two thin sheets of aluminium. This aluminium is bonded onto the core during the manufacturing process and it is virtually impossible to separate the layers of material once they have been bonded.
Aluminium Composite is supplied in a range of finishes. These finishes are applied to the external aluminium faces during the manufacturing process. When you buy a full sheet of Aluminium Composite you will find that the decorative finish is consistent throughout. This delivers a consistent, smooth finish across the entire surface area.
Depending on which brand of Aluminium Composite you buy the thickness of the external aluminium faces will be either 0.4, 0.3 or 0.2mm. If you are using aluminium composite as a flat panel product the face thickness is not critical.
If, however, you want to form your Aluminium Composite into shapes such as columns or sign trays the face thickness has an impact. From our experience of actually making formed Aluminium Composite structures it is best to use a sheet with no less than 0.3mm face thicknesses. Any less than this and it becomes difficult to make neat bends.
Why do face thicknesses vary? This is simply due to cost of manufacture. The external Aluminium faces represent the most expensive element of production so some manufacturers save money by using less thickness of Aluminium.
Metal finishes and patterned sheets
Most Metal finishes have a slight grain to them. It is critical that you install these sheets in the SAME direction. If you install one sheet with the grain running vertically and the next sheet with grain running horizontally you will see a colour difference when you stand back and look at the panels together.
For patterned and metal finishes we recommend that you buy enough Aluminium Composite to complete your application in one go. There is the possibility of slight differences in colour tone and pattern between production batches.
2mm Aluminium Composite is not suitable for folding.