Structural assessment of a composite glass panel sandwich based on stress analysis simulation and structural testing

Niloufar Emami, Harry Giles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


“Envelope” is a generic term that can be used to describe the total enclosure that separates the interior from the exterior of a building. The envelope defines the architectural appearance of the building, provides views to the inside and outside, resists wind loads, bears its self-weight, modulates heat transfer between internal and external temperatures and transmits light to the interiors. In addressing these functional parameters, various facade system solutions have drastically altered the appearance of the building envelope.
This study is focused on an innovative passive integrated shading panel system for building envelopes, where the internal shading is formed out of core elements that are structurally layered between the two glass panes. The composite panel consists of two outer skins and an inner core, which are assembled by bonding the two skins to the intermediate core. The skins are relatively strong, stiff materials while the core is a less stiff material. This integrated composite panel system modulates daylighting through the shading panels in addition to providing increased structural efficiency, compared to a simple double glazed system.
This research studies the behavior of samples of composite glass beams, which are considered representative of an entire composite glass panel. Two glass types, annealed and tempered, form the outer layers while the intermediate core materials are assembled out of thin acrylic sheets. The three layers are chemically bonded and cured prior to testing. The structural performance of the composite glass beams were evaluated through structural analysis simulation in the Ansys, FEM program and also load tested in flexure under static loading. The aim of the study was to both predict the structural behavior of the composite glass beams as well as validate the analysis results through physical testing, till structural failure occurs. The paper describes the evaluation process and discusses the results of this study, with conclusions that inform the evaluation of the structural behavior of glass composite panels applied to large scale building envelopes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of IASS Annual Symposia, IASS 2015 Amsterdam Symposium: Future Visions – Materials: Lightweight Concrete and Glass
PublisherInternational Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • glass composite panel
  • structural simulation
  • structural performance
  • experimental study
  • building envelope


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