BRANZ-EQC Research and Testing on SIPs

The SIPs surge continues with new EQC-funded research by BRANZ. 

A system claiming to deliver on faster, more sustainable, more comfortable and safer buildings deserves a closer look according to researchers at BRANZ.

BRANZ materials scientist Anna Walsh has set up a project to look at Structural Insulated Panels in the NZ environment. "SIPs are sandwich panels made of two face layers and an insulating inner core," explains Anna. "The panels can be prefabricated and assembled quickly on-site and could be used to increase construction speed and reduce the overall building cost."

SIPs have been widely used overseas for several decades but are relatively new to the market here. "We want to know more about their performance in New Zealand," says Anna. "We will look at how the panels stand up to our climate and how they perform in the event of an earthquake or fire."

The project is using a combination of laboratory testing and information gathering on what is already known internationally about SIPs so that findings can be applied to the way construction is carried out in New Zealand.

EQC-funded earthquake testing is already underway and BRANZ senior structural engineer Dr David Carradine is enthusiastic about the results to date. "So far we’ve found that the ductility of the system - that’s the ability to deform without actually failing - is very good," says David. "The way the panels have responded to simulated earthquake loading is exactly what we want to see from an engineering point of view for low rise buildings."

Dr. David Carradine explains the earthquake testing being carried out on SIPs in the video below. 

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