Building Construction, Codes & Standards, Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting

Structural Insulated Panels and Fire Endurance

Issue 1 and Volume 168.

BY GREGORY HAVEL Buildings featuring structural insulated panels (SIPs) were conceived in the 1930s; much of the research occurred at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. A model home was constructed on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison in 1937. The university used this building for various purposes, including as a day care center, until it was removed to make space for a building expansion in 1998. The most common SIPs today are made of two sheets of oriented strand board (OSB) with a block of foam insulation glued between them (photo 1). The most commonly used foam insulations are extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, polyurethane, or a composite honeycomb. In addition to OSB, facings may be made of plywood, cement board, and sheet metal. Photos 1-4 by author. In photo 1, the foam insulation is recessed between the sheets of OSB or other material to accommodate a…

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