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Metal Construction Association Embarks on Three New Research Projects



   Author: Jennifer Smith
Location: Chicago, IL


CHICAGO, IL – August 11, 2015 – The Metal Construction Association has announced that it is taking on three new research projects, which were topics at the association’s summer meeting. One project is evaluating the air permeability in metal roof panels to measure the level of wind uplift this type of roofing can withstand. The second project is a study on cool wall panels to reduce building energy usage and that will impact the urban heat island effect. The third project is a study on the effects of spray polyurethane foam insulation on metal panels. The results of the three studies are expected to make a significant impact in the industry and will take place over several years.

The air permeability research is being conducted at the University of Florida and will evaluate and characterize the performance of discontinuous metal panels, such as modular metal roof panels and snap-together standing seam roofing. The project goal is to develop a new test method that will more realistically reflect the wind uplift these systems can withstand. The main test utilized for the work will be the UL 1897 in both the static and dynamic mode. Wind tunnel testing and variations to existing industry test methods will also be used. An industry advisory panel has already been created and a literature search has been summarized. Test materials are being collected and shipped to the University of Florida with testing to commence this month.

Research on cool walls is being funded by a grant awarded to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This study is important for California cities to reduce building energy usage and help address the urban heat island effect. The project will evaluate the types of wall materials now in the marketplace and in the three climate zones in California. In addition to energy usage, the study will evaluate the dirt-shedding capability and durability of these wall materials. New technologies for ultra-cool pigmentation are also being investigated as part of this research. The project began in early July with several MCA member manufacturers providing samples of their metal wall materials. MCA is also contributing technical expertise and guidance to the project through their seat at the Industry Advisory Committee.

Research on the use of spray polyurethane foam insulation on metal panels is also being conducted for wall and roof assemblies. The goal of this research project is to evaluate the effects of spray foam on metal. This project was proposed in conjunction with the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) and the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA). A few of the main concerns that led to this project are oil canning and potential damage to paint films due to the exothermic curing of the foam and associated elevated temperatures. As a collaboration among MCA, MBMA and SPFA, preliminary research has already been completed to evaluate exothermic curing on metal. The next phase will include the use of full size wall and roof assemblies with foam sprayed using different application methods. Based on the project findings, a “Best Practices” guideline for using spray foam insulation with metal wall and roof assemblies will be generated.

MCA’s commitment to these projects is part of the association’s goal to further the growth and promote the environmental benefits of metal products in the construction industry. These projects are among many initiatives taken on by the association.

About the Metal Construction Association

The Metal Construction Association brings together a diverse industry for the purpose of expanding the use of metal in construction through marketing, research, technology and education. Companies involved in MCA gain tremendous benefit from association activities that focus on research, codes and standards, market development, and technical programs. MCA’s market development efforts increase the use of metal materials in construction through the education of the building and design communities about the benefits of metal.


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