Insulated panels are prefabricated building panels that are used in floors, walls and ceilings in buildings. The installation of insulating panels for building constructions aims to ensure energy efficiency, easy and fast installation and a decrease in operating costs. A structural insulation panel (SIP) is a composite building material; consisting of an insulating layer core sandwiched between two metal layers.
SIPs are commonly manufactured with Oriental Strand Board (OSB) panels sandwiched around a foam core made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS), or rigid polyurethane foam. Other materials such as plywood, pressure-treated plywood for foundation walls below grade, steel, aluminum, cement board such as Hardie Backer, and even exotic materials such as stainless steel, fiber-reinforced plastic, and magnesium oxide can also be used in replacement. by OSB. SIPs provide a continuous air and vapor barrier as well as a higher R-value compared to traditional constructions. When labor cost, material waste, and energy efficiency are considered SIP, they are comparable to more conventional construction methods.
The idea of structurally insulated panels (SIPs) was introduced to the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin in 1935. The laboratory developed a prototype panel consisting of frame members, plywood sheathing, and hardboard and insulation. These initial panels were used to build test houses and were tested after 30 years to reveal that the panels retain their initial strength. In 1952, Alden B. Dow created the first SIP foam cores that were mass produced in the 1960s.
How to use SIP
SIPs are designed to resist axial loads, shear loads, and off-edge loads. These can be used for floors, walls, ceilings, etc … for buildings. They have the ability to resist biaxial bending and lateral shear; therefore, they are very suitable to be used as ceilings and floors. The most commonly used panel joint connections are Surface spline and Block Spline. The ribbed surface joint connection consists of a strip of OSB or plywood inserted into the grooves of the foam. The fluted block is a thin and narrow SIP assembly that is inserted into the recesses of the foam along the edges of the panel. These connections result in a continuous foam core through the panels. This helps eliminate air leakage in the joints.
Another joint connection is mechanical cam locks; Create a tighter joint between the panels. In any type of connection, the seam along the siding must be covered with a continuous line of panel tape. Openings can occur at the edges and corners of the panel, so the panel foam can be recessed to access the wood heads. Any opening within the SIP that accepts another enclosed item must be properly sealed.
Benefits and drawbacks
1. SIP provides the tightest building envelope and the walls will have higher insulating properties.
2. Decrease in operating costs.
3. Buildings made of insulated panels can be easily disassembled and reused.
4. The properties of the insulated panel (resistance and thermal insulation property) will remain the same if they are reused.
5. It is cost effective as it can be installed easily
1. Quite poor performance regarding noise control.
2. It can be damaged by moisture. It is better to use the panels with waterproof surfaces.
3. Panels must be adequately protected from pests / insecticides.
4. Requires an adequate mechanical ventilation system
5. Modifying the initial project is expensive.
Structural Insulated Panels come prefabricated and ready to be assembled, so they help speed up construction, also require minimal equipment and labor and are therefore cost effective.