What Is A Curtain Wall? Used largely in high-rise construction, a curtain wall is an external wall, which is often prefabricated glass, metal or masonry. It is a non-structural wall and does not bear any dead load weight of the building it is attached to. It does not bear the weight of the roof, nor any of the building walls. A curtain wall is typically hung from the building structure, attached to the floor slab, and generally spans multiple floors. While a wall of this type can sometimes seem useful for aesthetic purposes only, it also serves several other important functions. What is a curtain wall used for? A curtain wall is built to defend against weather and storm damage, and resist air and water filtration. The curtain wall protects against wind forces and seismic loads that can cause a building to sway and cause movement between floors, as well as its own dead load weight force. The protection of the curtain wall helps to slow the erosion process caused by rain and wind damage, thus decreasing deterioration on the building. The curtain wall is also built with consideration given to thermal expansion and contraction, thermal efficiency for cost-effective heating, cooling, and lighting in the building. What is a curtain wall made of? The curtain wall may consist of lightweight material which can reduce construction costs. Glass can be used as the curtain wall, which allows natural light through and into the building the wall is protecting. Certain materials can be used in the construction of curtain walls to provide resistance and blockage of UV rays, as well as offer containment of dust and debris. The curtain wall may also offer 100% protection against hazardous chemicals of different kinds. Considerations for materials in fabrication of the curtain walls can include daylighting, thermal, acoustical, security and blast-resistance.
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