When Hurricane Hugo passed through Puerto Rico last September, the 200 houses built there with welded wire sandwich panels reported no structural damage. Buildings using these panels have also held up through typhoons in the Far East and earthquakes in the Middle East. The panels meet seismic Zone 4 requirements and have fire ratings of 2 to 4 hours. The system is also termite and dry rot proof, has good acoustical properties with sound ratings to STC-52, and has insulation values to R 33.
Welded wire sandwich panels (WWSP) are the formwork and structural reinforcement for an adaptable panel construction system. They are composed of a three-dimensional steel truss with an insulation foam core of polyurethane or polystyrene varying in thickness and height. They can be used as floors, load-bearing exterior or interior walls, partitions, or roofs. The panels are erected and spliced together using lap mesh, rebar, and gauge tie wire. Once assembled, the panels are completed with a 1- to 1.5-inch layer of 2000-psi shotcrete or portland cement plaster applied with a high-pressure gun.