Tests on two-story-high facade system mock-ups show whether a skyscraper will withstand the toughest conceivable conditions. Full-size facade components incorporating sealing profiles can be subjected to tests on everything from air and water infiltration to bomb blast resistance.
“Sealing profiles are vital components in skyscraper facades. They are integrated into the metal frame of glass facades, providing a seal and protective barrier between the insulating glass and the framing system,” explains Michael Scanlon, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Trelleborg’s sealing profiles operations in the U.S.
“It’s not unusual in our hi-rise projects that a mock-up is used to prove the integrity of a facade system before being released for manufacturing. A mock-up will typically be two stories high and perhaps 20-30 meters wide. It will also have the relevant architectural features – it’s rarely just a flat wall.”
In the U.S., mock-ups are tested according to various standards and norms at highly specialized external test facilities, which are geared up to assess the strength, integrity and conformity of building elements on a life-size scale.
Each mock-up faces a combination of different tests that simulate the harshest conditions the building is expected to face.
Air and water infiltration are tested in both static and dynamic conditions. Dynamic water infiltration testing may involve water being blown at high speed onto the mock-up by the propeller of a running aircraft engine.
Facade components intended for buildings in hurricane or earthquake-prone areas are subjected to stringent testing for wind resistance, impact resistance and seismic performance.
Other tests for window and facade systems assess thermal performance, acoustic performance, fire resistance and even bomb blast resistance in the case of high security installations.
“Customers rely on our technical expertise to provide customized seals that meet requirements for specific projects,“ says Mike Scanlon. “We are involved throughout the process and sometimes mock-up testing reveals that a facade system needs a modification. If the facade system seal needs to accommodate the change we are there to discuss a solution. We have a high degree of flexibility and our ability to deal with these challenges quickly and efficiently is part and parcel of the value that we bring."