Let The Testing Begin

Updated: Nov 10, 2018

Materials started arriving ready for testing. Initial test pieces include two types of sandwich skins (aluminium honeycomb and vermiculite), fire resistant skin, some pre-preg fibreglass, adhesive film, raw aluminium honeycomb, polyurethane expanding foam and some cloth carbon fibre. These initial samples are mainly requested so we can do a fire test later in this week to make sure the vermiculite performs the way we hope. Based on that we will order the main product.

This is the aluminium core sandwich. Lighter and perhaps a little stiffer than expected. Very straight and quite a smooth surface all of which is important for our objectives.

This is the vermiculite. Not quite as heave as I expected. Whiter and more aerated than expected. Quite a rigid and tough material. This panel is stiffer than the aluminium one which is interesting.

Both of these have a yellowish colour which is the fibreglass / resin / adhesive combination. The vermiculite finish has some 'roughness' - I will querie the manufacture why this is the case as both panels were done the same way - I expect as done in a hot-press machine the heat created energy (hot air bubbles) which were absorbed in the honeycomb, but 'pushed back' with the vermiculite creating this roughness. Its not really an issue (generally) but more curious.

I have set up a temp testing station within a 6m shipping container and have some basic test equipment including a video recorder so we can capture and present results.

First we will do some experiments just to settle some queries that have been unsettled in my mind for the past few months. Most of these are based on the way the final products will look (not perform).


  1. Create Carbon Fibre Studs

  2. Assemble a mock mini wall panel

  3. Fill Cavity with Expanding Foam

  4. Bonding wall paper over joins

  5. Painting wall sheet

The result will be a very realistic mini panel with around 80% of the strength we expect to see with the final product (because the carbon fibre stud is by far inferior), but 100% of the thermal and acoustic properties.

Create Carbon Fibre Studs

The 'real' carbon fibre studs are very complex, expensive and not ready to produce, so this has to wait. For the purpose of this experiment I am going to use some timber studs.

Experiment with finish of paper

This is one of the most important things we are doing. The finish of the walls are critical to ensure they look like any other standard house paint over plaster wall. So using two different weights of paper with two different techniques we have 4 outcomes to examine.

This is the test pieces immediately after resin was applied to cure. Top 2 are 180gsm; bottom are 150gsm.

Left are bonded from below (my preference), right is resin applied from above.

These are bonded to an actual vermiculite panel so outcome is accurate.

Paper with first coat of paint.

Observation: Resin applied on top seemed to have the paint soak in slower.

Paint applied well, initial look is fine.

Second coat applied.

All looked fine. Second coat easy to apply.

Definitely the 150gsm tissue was less obvious and the better option. Whether resin applied on top or bottom didnt really make a big difference.

I think what will be the biggest issue is the joining which is something we are experimenting next.