When any thin skins are bonded to a lightweight core, a sandwich or composite panel is formed. By assembling individually flexible materials in this way, very light but rigid panels are created, optimising the properties of each component.
One of the early applications which made use of this type of construction was the Mosquito aircraft in the 1940s. Here, thin plywood skins were bonded to a balsa wood core to form the fuselage. Many aircraft components still use the same technology today, often using aluminium skins and honeycomb core.
The same basic construction is now used in a great variety of other applications from sophisticated space craft to relatively 'low tech' domestic doors.
A large range of materials can be used but if metal sheets are combined with a core which has good thermal insulation properties the composite panel formed is an ideal building element for roof and wall cladding.
By using standard pre-finished metal facings, already commonly used as cladding sheets, a factory-finished composite cladding panel can be made. This one-piece product combines a lining sheet, insulation and outer sheet, so it can be quickly and simply fixed on site, providing both high quality and reliability. This type of panel was first manufactured in the 1960s and its share of the market has grown steadily all over the world ever since.
Today the panels are used for cladding the roofs and walls of many industrial and commercial buildings.