MCA Begins Research Projects

The Chicago-based Metal Construction Association is taking on three new research projects, which were topics at the association’s summer meeting. The results of the three studies, which will take place over several years, are expected to make a significant impact in the industry.

Air permeability research is being conducted at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and will evaluate and characterize the performance of discontinuous metal panels, such as modular metal roof panels and snap-together standing-seam roofing. The project goal is to develop a new test method that will more realistically reflect the wind up-lift these systems can withstand. The main test utilized for the work will be UL 1897 in the static and dynamic mode. Wind-tunnel testing and variations to existing industry test methods will also be used.

Research on cool walls is being funded by a grant awarded to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif. This study is important for California cities to reduce building energy usage and help address the urban heat-island effect. The project will evaluate the types of wall material snow in the marketplace and in the three climate zones in California. In addition to energy usage, the study will evaluate the dirt-shedding capability and durability of these wall materials. New technologies for ultra-cool pigmentation are also being investigated as part of this research.

Research on the use of spray polyurethane foam insulation on metal panels is also being conducted for wall and roof assemblies. The goal of this research project is to evaluate the effects of spray foam on metal. This project was proposed in conjunction with the Fairfax, Va.-based Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) and the Cleveland-based Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA). A few of the main concerns that led to this project are oil canning and potential damage to paint films caused by the exothermic curing of the foam and associated elevated temperatures. As a collaboration among MCA, MBMA and SPFA, preliminary research has already been completed to evaluate exothermic curing on metal. The next phase will include the use of full-size wall and roof assemblies with foam sprayed using different application methods. Based on the project findings, a best practices guideline for using spray-foam insulation with metal wall and roof assemblies will be generated.

MCA’s commitment to these projects is part of the association’s goal to further the growth and promote the environmental benefits of metal products in the construction industry.

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