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21st September 2017, Wellingborough

New Ferrari Land FRP cladding uses Crestapol 1212

Ferrari Land theme park in Spain was officially opened to the public, featuring two key landmarks, namely the Ferrari Experience building, with its instantly recognisable classic Ferrari red coloured exterior and car bonnet shaped entrance, and Red Force, which is now Europe’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster at over 112 metres tall.

Both constructions were fabricated using a combination of painted flat aluminium panels and more complex, curved FRP composite wall cladding and roofing sections. Altogether, the FRP composite parts supplied covered approximately 1,500 square metres, installed on the exterior of the Ferrari Experience building and various sections of the Red Force rollercoaster ride.

Complex, curved FRP panels

A total of 800 individual FRP parts ranging in sizes from 0.5 to 5.0 m2, were hand layup moulded by specialist architectural façades and parts fabricator Look Composites at its 44,000 m2 purpose built factory in Alicante, in the south east of Spain.

In order to meet the EN 13501-1 ‘Euroclass’ Bs2.d0 fire performance standard, Look Composites specified Crestapol 1212 resin with 170 phr by weight of Alumina trihydrate (ATH) fire retardant filler for all of the FRP composite parts supplied for the Ferrari Land construction project. © Scott Bader

Look Composites is part of the Miraplas Group, with more than 40 years of experience manufacturing a wide range of custom designed fibreglass parts and composites solutions for building and construction applications.  In particular, Look Composites has expertise in cost effectively manufacturing curved, complex shaped cladding and roofing designs favoured in more recent years by a growing number of contemporary architects.

Past successes with a number of prestigious new build and refurbishment exterior cladding projects in Spain, where FR rated curved composite panels were specified, is the reason that Look Composites won this contract, offering an FR rated solution using an ATH filled laminate system with Scott Bader’s Crestapol 1212 high performance methacrylate-based resin. 

Euroclass Fire Standard

In order to meet the stringent EN 13501-1 Euroclass B,s2,d0 fire performance rating stipulated, all of the FRP composite parts needed were custom moulded by Look Composites using Crestapol 1212 resin with Alumina trihydrate (ATH) fire retardant filler. 

800 individual FRP composites parts, all with complex shapes, were hand layup moulded by specialist architectural parts fabricator Look Composites for cladding and roofing all the curved sections of both the ‘Ferrari Experience’ building and the ‘Red Force’ rollercoaster (behind). © Scott Bader

According to the EN 13501-1 Euroclass fire performance specification, a ‘B, s2’ rated material is classified as making a ‘very limited contribution to fire’ with a low smoke growth rate index (SMOGRA) of ≤ 180m2.s-2, with the material achieving ‘d0’ indicating no flaming droplets or particles within 600 seconds of burning. Many European Union (EU) member countries have now adopted the harmonised Euroclass system to classify and compare the reaction to fire performance of building products.

FRP moulding challenges

The moulding phase of the project took Look Composites eight months to complete, with finished moulded FRP parts delivered in planned stages to the construction site. The 800 complex shaped composite parts needed were very challenging to mould to the size, design and dimensional accuracy required; each FRP part had either a double curvature design, or were non-linear with curves and tight angles, all with moulded fixing point flanges.

The first challenge for the Look Composites team was to design and fabricate all the composite tooling for the very wide variety of differently sized and shaped curved parts. Vitally important was the accurate positioning of the moulded FRP flanges on each part to ensure that when each wall cladding and roofing section was mechanically fixed onto the building framework, it exactly lined up and fitted into place.

Altogether, the FRP composite parts supplied covered approximately 1.500 sq. m. of the new Ferrari Land theme park in Spain. As the buildings used both flat aluminium and curved FRP cladding panels, to ensure identical colour matching of dissimilar material, all panels were spray painted as a second production step. © Scott Bader

The second challenge was to select a suitable FRP laminating resin that could meet the Euroclass B,s2,d0 fire specification and still be cost effectively hand moulded with good levels of shop floor productivity, needed for such a large number of parts. “Crestapol 1212 is a well-known resin to us. In our experience, it has proved to be the best laminate resin system for building cladding to meet the Euroclass B,s2,d0  fire specification, still being perfectly usable for hand layup moulding even when very heavily ATH filled,” commented Antonio Mira, CEO of Look Composites.

Versatile properties

Developed with processability as a key requirement, Crestapol 1212 resin enables hand layup and infused moulded FRP parts or pultruded profiles to be rapidly produced due to a combination of the resin having a very low viscosity with a fast-ambient temperature cure rate; depending on the complexity of a part, demoulding can take place as soon as the peak exotherm has been reached.

Crestapol 1212 resin is also said to give moulders the flexibility to adjust ATH and accelerator levels as needed, depending on the application and working times required.  According to Scott Bader, the inherent toughness of a cured Crestapol 1212 resin matrices results in laminates exhibiting excellent mechanical performance despite the presence of high levels of ATH filler.

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