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Curtain Walls

 

     Curtain wall is a term used to describe a building façade which does not carry any dead load from the building other than its own dead load, and one which transfers the horizontal loads (wind loads) that are incident upon it. These loads are transferred to the main building structure through connections at floors or columns of the building. A curtain wall is designed to resist air and water infiltration, wind forces acting on the building, seismic forces (usually only those imposed by the inertia of the curtain wall), and its own dead load forces.

     Curtain walls are designed with extruded aluminum members. The aluminum frame is typically in filled with glass, which provides an architecturally pleasing building, as well as benefits such as day lighting. However, parameters related to solar gain control such as thermal comfort and visual comfort are more difficult to control when using highly-glazed curtain walls. Other common infill's include: metal panels, louvers, and operable windows or vents.

     Curtain walls differ from storefront systems in that they are designed to span multiple floors, and take into consideration design requirements such as: thermal expansion and contraction; building sway and movement; water diversion; and thermal efficiency for cost-effective heating, cooling, and lighting in the building.

 
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