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Davidr on Honeycomb Panel IFR

By: davidr@fast.net [39] 5 Stars
Date: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Time: 9:57:23 AM

Honeycomb panels used on internal floating roofs are a sandwich construction consisting of an upper and lower skin with core in between. The materials are most often aluminum. In this scenario, the core is usually 0.003 thick aluminum foil expanded to a six sided shape similar to what bees make in their hives, hence the name honeycomb. The top and bottom skins are 0.16 minimum, sometimes as thick as 0.040. The core may be of solid aluminum foil or it may have perforations. The perforations allow the entire panel to be sniff tested while the non-perforated core isolates each cell preventing communication. The overall thickness must be at least 1 and is often 1 1/2. The core is never welded to the skins but is instead glued to the skins. If this glue gives way the panel is changed into a very weak collection of materials. In order to join panels together, the perimeter of the panel is surrounded with an extruded aluminum shape that has horizontal legs above and below the panel skins and vertical legs to accept some clamp or fastener. Some vendors glue these edge closures to the panel skins, others weld them to the skins. When welding is used, the skins are usually thicker than when glue is used. Welding is a more positive method of sealing vs glue especially at the corners. Glue is subject to degradation from heat and chemical exposure, allowing product into the panel. Welding may damage the inside glue bond but makes a better seal against liquid intrusion although weld porosity allows vapors inside. Panels so constructed are fairly strong except at the joints between the panels, so vendors stagger seams or use a herringbone pattern. Long runs of seams are subject to high bending stresses and may not develop the full strength of the panel. The joints between the panels deck seams are a source of leak between the liquid below and the vapor space above. Deck seams are either bolted or welded. Bolted seams have a high loss rate, welded seams are more expensive but have zero losses assuming they are tested vacuum box, etc.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive or complete description of whats in the marketplace and I may have missed important descriptions or items. Please take this as a very brief introduction and verify any and all specifics while reviewing alternatives.

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