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Myth Versus Reality: Revealing the Curtain Wall Capabilities of Modern Steel

Architects are starting to take note of how modern cold roll-formed steel framing methodologies are resulting in previously unimagined esthetic possibilities for curtain wall.

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(Photo Credit: Construction Canada)

Architects and specifiers are starting to take note of how modern, cold roll-formed and laser-welded steel framing methodologies are resulting in previously unimagined esthetic possibilities for curtain walls. Both steel formation processes allow for the development of larger sections of thin-gauge carbon or stainless material.

Compared to traditional steel and aluminum assemblies, this new generation of steel frames provides certain basic design benefits such as:

  • narrower frames;
  • sharp edges versus rounded profiles;
  • corner joints without any visible weld beads or fasteners; and
  • flexibility to use back mullions of different shapes and sizes.

Despite the many benefits associated with these new steel forming methodologies, myths continue to circulate around steel’s limitations in curtain wall systems. . To help set the record straight, Chuck Knickerbocker – Technical Glass Products, wrote an article for Construction Canada to address three relevant inaccuracies:

  • Myth 1: Steel frames are likely to corrode
  • Myth 2: Steel structures are not energy efficient
  • Myth 3: Steel curtain wall systems have little impact on LEED requirements

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