Structural Evaluation of Cement Skin Sandwich Building System


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Title: Structural Evaluation of Cement Skin Sandwich Building System

Author(s): Yixin Shao, Emmanuel Blain-Cosgrove and Brad Robinson

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 224


Appears on pages(s): 101-112

Keywords: sandwich building system, expanded polystyrene, full scale wall tests, thin cement products, gravity load, wind resistance, seismic resistance, frameless housing.

Date: 12/1/2004

The balance between sustainability and affordability is hard to achieve when considering choices of building envelopes. A simple and easy-to-construct stressed skin structural sandwich system that is both affordable and sustainable is evaluated in this paper. The system is composed of an expanded polystyrene (EPS) panel core, wrapped in polymer mesh and covered with a thin cement skin on both sides. This system design leads to a highly energy efficient building envelope system. A full-scale sandwich wall was constructed and tested to examine the possibility of its use as a load bearing wall in one story residential house without traditional timber frames. Based on the requirements imposed by the National Building Code (NBC), the test results from this experimental program were found to be promising. The wall carried a gravity load, a wind load and seismic in-plane shear load at least 4 times as high as the NBC design load with negligible lateral displacement and no visible cracking. At buckling failure, the load-carrying capacity of the wall exceeded 10 times the design load. The EPS-core stressed-cement skin sandwich building system thus provides a good example of the use of thin cementitious products in load bearing exterior wall structural applications.