Creating Thermal Break Advantages with Composites from Strongwell

The Alaskan climate has annual temperature swings from highs in the summer pushing 90 °F to winter lows in the range of -40 °F, and this presents a unique challenge for architects and engineers.

Fiber-Reinforced Polymer

Thermal conductivity through metal-to-metal fastenings and components of exterior walls is one of the major concerns with permanent building design and construction within challenging climate conditions. Excess thermal transference often results in interior condensation, which can cause mold growth.

Although steel offers reasonable thermal performance than other materials such as aluminum (6 times the thermal conductivity of steel) and copper (10 times of steel), fiber-reinforced polymer (commonly known as FRP, 0.01 times of steel) can produce significant energy savings and help prevent other problematic conditions associated with condensation when employed as a thermal break to maintain both the energy efficiency and temperature within a building.

The architectural joint venture HKS, Inc./Wingler & Sharp completed the Bassett Army Community Hospital in Alaska. Larry A. Johnson, P.E., the chief structural engineer of the project, designed a structural solution that reduced thermal conductivity via the exterior components of the exterior walls.

The solution was provided by an FRP design using composite structural members bolted to the spandrel beams of the structural steel framing system. The FRP design was made up of EXTREN® 8" x 2-3/16" x 3/8" FRP channels, EXTREN® 12" x ½" FRP wide flanges, hex nuts, and FIBREBOLT® ¾" FRP threaded rods to support the exterior masonry façade/cladding and bridge the gap as a thermal break between the cold and warm sides of the exterior wall.

EXTREN® FRP Structural Shapes

The materials selected during situations and climates where extreme temperature variations occur are crucial to structural designs and efficient building. Due to EXTREN®’s advantages in thermal properties together with its tensile/flexural strength, density, and modulus of elasticity, EXTREN® FRP Structural Shapes were selected as the most suitable material for this job.

The FRP design was made up of EXTREN® 8" x 2-3/16" x 3/8" FRP channels, EXTREN® 12" x ½" FRP wide flanges, hex nuts, and FIBREBOLT® ¾" FRP threaded rods

The FRP design was made up of EXTREN® 8" x 2-3/16" x 3/8" FRP channels, EXTREN® 12" x ½" FRP wide flanges, hex nuts, and FIBREBOLT® ¾" FRP threaded rods

Technical Details

Technical Data
Product Structural Wall Support as Thermal Break
Process Pultrusion
Materials and Sizes EXTREN® Wide Flange Beam: 12" x 1/2"
EXTREN® Channel: 8" x 2-3/16" x 3/8"
FIBREBOLT® Studs & Nuts: ¾"
For HKS, Inc./Wingler & Sharp
User Bassett Army Community Hospital

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Strongwell Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit Strongwell Corporation.

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