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What is a Curtain Wall Application?

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An exterior wall that is not structural but is linked to the property structure and utilized to block out the weather is known as a curtain wall. The curtain wall can be formed of a lightweight material since it's nonstructural (for example, aluminum-framed walls with infills of metal panels, thin stone, or glass), which lowers the cost of construction.


The advantage of using glass as a curtain wall is that natural light can enter the structure more deeply. It should be noted that aside from its weight, the curtain wall façade carries no dead-load weight from the building. Additionally, a curtain wall is made to withstand wind- and earthquake-induced sway, water, air infiltration, and other pressures on the building.


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How Do Curtain Walls Function, and What Are They?

Since curtain walls are nonstructural wall systems, they only support their weight. They don't support the weight of the rest of the building. Typically, they are fastened to the building's framework using a screw or stud system. Any gravity load or wind that the curtain walls encounter is transferred to the property's structure, often through the floor line.


Curtain walls can be constructed from more lightweight materials because they are not structural. The standard curtain wall material is glass with an aluminum or steel frame, though glass can be replaced with metal panels or thin stones.


What Kinds of Curtain Walls Are There?

Curtain walls are typically modular curtain walls or stick or unitized systems. These groups describe various production and installation techniques.


Stick Systems 

You should install a vision glass panel and stick the system's curtain wall frame (mullions) one piece at a time, allowing on-site changes. It includes the building's components being put together piece by piece on the job site. These are typically deployed in small areas or low-rise buildings. It's because outdoor access is necessary to reach higher elevations.


Additional equipment, such as scaffolding and cranes, will be needed. As a result of the on-site changes, the system above benefits from minimal shipping costs. However, it is noted that a lot of time and labor is consumed.


Unitized Systems

In the case of unitized systems, one unit or several sizable units are created and put together in a factory before being transported to the construction site and put into use. It reduces the price and duration of the installation. A single unit is typically one storey in length from one floor to another.


It entails putting together using factory-purchased interlocking units. The entire assembly is purchased from the manufacturer as a single item. Individual component installation is not required as opposed to a sticky curtain wall system.


The unitized curtain wall size is determined by the overall height of the building from floor to floor. Therefore, it's essential to consider the shipping and installation process while determining the depth of the facade. This technology is mostly used in tall buildings. Cranes or other external supports, such as scaffolding, are not required for this.


The only tools that can support the floor during installation are tiny cranes or improvised hoists. This method has the advantages of quicker construction and superior quality because it is manufactured in a factory. However, the shipping cost is more than anticipated because it requires extra care during transportation.


Ladder Design

In this design, stick systems and unitized systems are merged. It makes use of smaller, manufactured off-site parts that are assembled on-site with more seams and joining lines.


Curtain walls can fall under these groups:





Pressure-equalized units offer the greatest weather protection level as the glass and glazing exterior acts as the rain screen. The equipment has an air barrier which aids in maintaining pressure equilibrium and prevents water infiltration.



Airtight construction is increasingly a consideration when manufacturing aluminum curtain wall systems for commercial buildings. A curtain wall made of aluminum is the best option because of how durable and easy to maintain it is.


Aluminum curtain wall systems are also gaining popularity in residential projects due to the fact that they enclose buildings with nonstructural aluminum and glass facades that transmit loads and resistance to the building's main structure. High-strength glass panes that have been thermally shattered are used in these glazing systems to maximize heat efficiency.


Additional functional and structural advantages of the mullions, transoms, and sealings include their rust resistance, temperature expansion, seismic stresses, water, and air in applications. Modern curtain wall systems need structural solid supports that can be flexible to keep up with today's increasingly enormous free spans, challenging angles, and opulent glass-clad aesthetics.


A steel profile could be two-thirds of the aluminum profile size while achieving the same curtain wall performance parameters in modern buildings. Steel can be utilized in non-rectangular grids where the length of the frame member may be larger than what is generally needed in traditional rectangular vertical/horizontal curtain wall grids due to the material's inherent strength.


Additionally, lightweight glass is frequently used in constructing structural glass curtain walls and additional materials like aluminum, marble, stone, or composites.


Numerous considerations went into their design, including limiting air and water intrusion, controlling wind pressure, and thermal regulation. Thus, frequent maintenance is essential to preserving the aesthetic and practical value of the curtain walls as time passes.


Structural glass curtain walls are so famous for their many benefits in the global building sector, despite the higher curtain wall price on the market.


One advantage of utilizing the curtain walls for tall properties is to lessen sway and provide protection from geological phenomena and strong winds. The other is that they can improve a building's exterior to produce a lovely facade. These additions can also add an insulation layer, improving your building's energy efficiency.


Benefits of Using Curtain Walls

In modern structures, curtain wall systems are a common and noticeable element. Curtain walls are panels attached to the structure's exterior frequently via mechanical, chemical, or adhesive bonding. They are intended to shield the building from the elements (such as weather). Curtain walls, made of metal, glass, or stone, have several benefits when incorporated into contemporary designs.


Keeping Water and Air Out

These walls serve as a buffer and an insulator by blocking water and air from getting inside the building. Because curtain walls have this feature, buildings with them often survive longer and require less maintenance.


A facade's primary purpose is to allow water to pass through. Implementing a sealed curtain panel system that is entirely impermeable here is not feasible. Consequently, two levels of prevention are used.


Water must be wholly defended at the primary level, and if that's unsuccessful, it must be directed to drain away any percolated water at the secondary level.


Water permeability is the fundamental concern of weather tightness. Impermeable insulating units (glazed units) are used to prevent this. Additionally, a gasket is offered, leading to a reimbursement. Any water entering the gasket is directed to the rebate, which is eventually drained out via the mullion ends or transom joints.


Bringing Down Building Sway

Despite the curtain wall not being guaranteed of its structural stability, it reduces the building's general sway, giving it more security. By distributing kinetic force over the entire structure and frame, the curtain wall can balance off any stresses placed on the building.


Ultimately, this results in a better property able to endure strong winds. Taller buildings can benefit most from decreased building sway, which can also improve comfort for occupants.

reducing the rate of fire spread


Curtain walls can also restrict fire spreading between levels by serving as an obstacle and stopping the fire from quickly spreading across the building's surface. It is crucial in taller structures where a fire could swiftly move upwards.


Dimensions of Appearance and Appeal

Today, curtain walls are anticipated in many structures, not only for their many practical benefits but also for their aesthetic appeal. A curtain wall provides a neat, classy, and distinctive appearance now linked to contemporary design. Curtain walls are frequently the only kind of wall that can be seen from the skyline of a city.


Impermeability to Air


As a result of the rate of heat gain or loss in the interior and exterior environments, this purpose is more concerned with protecting the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.


Wind, Thermal, and Acoustic Action Resistance

The building levels are linear support for the cladding system, which transfers wind actions to them. Large panel building cladding systems are typically one-way spanning. Therefore, each floor level of a building can handle one level of wind load.


The facade should have a thermal insulator to reduce energy utilization and CO2 emissions vigorously. Both transparent and opaque regions are given insulated materials. When appropriately treated and glazed, curtain walls significantly increase a building's thermal efficiency. Curtain walls provide an additional layer of insulation for the building, regulating internal temperature and lowering overall operating expenses.


UV light can be reduced by adding more glazing, preventing goods inside the structure from quickly degrading or fading. Acoustic insulation is also essential between the interior and the outside environment, particularly for city-centered buildings. Massive structural components like masonry or concrete buildings have better acoustic insulation.


Solar Levels

Applying a particular solar control layer on one of the glass surfaces can minimize this. This coating is known as selective because it allows different wavelengths of solar radiation to pass through it selectively. Visible light can pass via the coating more readily than infrared light. For instance, UV radiation can cause material displays or exhibition rooms to deteriorate. A UV-inhibiting film can be used to achieve this.


Support Conditions

As previously mentioned, curtain wall structures are hung from the top, and lateral supports are placed at various floor levels. The edge beams hold most of the supports. Therefore, a substantially stiffened edge beam is necessary to prevent more significant deflections. The entire curtain system can be disturbed by these vertical deflections.


Therefore, good edge beam placement would shield the curtain wall and cladding system from harm, especially if it has a lot of glazing. Strong steel supports can be provided instead of connecting to the floor slabs or edge beams, allowing them to pass across the perimeter columns. Hot-rolled sections make up most of the strong backs.


Structural Behavior of Curtain Walls 

Studies conducted in the past have shown that curtain walls appear to be resistant to lateral forces, particularly earthquakes, although there is still appreciable damage. Even though damage can be fixed, there is economic loss and a delay in corporate operations. A building's curtain walls are regarded as structural components.


It plays a part in the transmission of loads necessary for structural stability because it serves as a barrier between the internal and external environments of the building. It transfers loads brought on by wind to the main structure. Additionally, it prevents seismic accelerations, keeping the occupants secure. In addition to this, it must withstand loads that fall on it due to gravity.


Curtain walls' ability to adjust to various temperatures is essential when evaluating the building's endurance. It is because, in high-rise buildings with many floors, the temperature looks excessive and poses a risk to individuals who work there. It must also be resistant to water infiltration to prevent rusting.


Take Away

The structural significance of the curtain wall systems has grown to match that of the building's other structural components. It must be appropriately built, installed, and maintained with usefulness and sustainability in mind because it is more exposed to outside air.


Since the 1930s, curtain wall systems have been used more and more frequently. With the construction of more high-rise structures, demand for their service has increased quickly. Like other structural elements, they contribute significantly to the building's structure and have a pleasing appearance.


Because they provide a sleek and contemporary finish to contemporary architectural concepts, curtain walls have emerged as the fresh face of high-rise structures. Weiye Aluminum is a sizable, all-encompassing firm that processes aluminum through extrusion and has an intense sense of social obligation.


It offers a variety of benefits, ranging from ease to efficiency in shipping, overall price, and application, much beyond the visual appeal curtain wall systems offer.