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ArmorWall Plus Passes Extreme Hydrostatic Pressure Testing

ArmorWall Plus Fire-Rated Structural Insulated Sheathing achieves impressive performance through third-party testing by Dr. M. Steven Doggett’s extensive face column test methods.

Introduction

Steven Doggett, PhD., Principal Scientist and CEO of Built Environments, Inc., has spent months analyzing ArmorWall Plus through one of his most rigorous methods of testing water leakage in building enclosure systems; the 21.6” face column. Since June 2021, Dr. Doggett has tested ArmorWall Plus three separate times using the face column test method. Each test will be discussed below, including Dr. Doggett’s remarks on ArmorWall Plus’s results.

Test #1: ArmorSeal Plus Coating

When ArmorWall Plus was being developed, the building enclosure industry was in dire need of an improved technique to ensure exterior wall water-resistance that could also be applied quickly, safely, and in any climate. MaxLife Industries’ solution to this problem was to create a factory-applied, proprietary air and water-resistive barrier (AWB), which in addition was specifically designed for Magnesium Oxide sheathing, a core component of ArmorWall panels.

For this test, Dr. Doggett applied a 21.6” face column directly onto the coated sheathing of two ArmorWall Plus panels. For 30 consecutive days, and at under 10 dry mils, the coating endured 21.6 inches of hydrostatic pressure without any water leakage. In addition, Dr. Doggett performed a pull-off adhesion test of the coating after the panel was fully submerged for 24 hours. ArmorWall Plus achieved results of over 100 psi, proving a superior bond to the Magnesium Oxide sheathing.

A pair of test specimens together with their back sides (at 21.6”) and corresponding panel sections after 30 days.

With these results, Dr. Doggett has concluded that ArmorWall Plus, with its proprietary ArmorSeal Plus Coating, is, “…the best thin-mil coating in the industry.” He continues to state, “It’s not enough just to have outstanding water resistance. Substrate-specific adhesion is critical. As is the ability of liquid flashing and sealants to adhere to the coating. All work together to make a durable, high-performing system.”

Test #2: ArmorSeal Sealant (Gun Grade)

The second test Dr. Doggett administered to ArmorWall Plus added a simulated joint set at 18” on the panel with a treatment of ArmorSeal Sealant. After 30 days fully submerged, ArmorWall Plus passed the test. ArmorWall Plus proved itself to be a holistic system, with both coating and sealant working together to provide an exceptional air and water-resistant panel.

How are the coating and sealing components engineered for total compatibility?  First, the coating was designed exclusively for Magnesium Oxide, which results in excellent adhesion anywhere on the panel. Second, the ArmorSeal Sealant was chemically engineered to bond with the coated panel. As a moisture-cured Silyl Terminated Polyether Technology (STPE), the sealant has low water absorption and high adhesion under an extended time being submerged. Third, the final component of the ArmorWall system, the non-corrosive sheathing attachment fastener, has its fastener heads treated with the same sealant.  Doing so further improves the air and water-resistive properties of the panel system as a whole.

ArmorWall Plus with ArmorWall Sealant applied at a simulated joint for 30 days.

After testing, Dr. Doggett had this to say about ArmorWall’s air and water-resistive barrier system; “The WRB is only as good as the system’s weakest link. This core concept was fundamental in the evolution of ArmorWall Plus. Without a doubt, it serves as a model for the WRB System: a synergy of products for a common purpose – superior water resistance at the primary WRB plane.”

Test #2: ArmorSeal Sealant (Gun Grade)

The last and most recent test Dr. Doggett performed included 9” wide self-adhered flashing tape to treat a simulated joint on an ArmorWall Plus panel. Flashing tape is used to panelize individual ArmorWall Plus panels to a larger wall assembly, oftentimes more than 20 feet tall on the exterior of a building. The flashing tape used in the test was placed at 14 ½” on the panel over a 1/8” wide cut, replicating a partial panel joint. Finally, a 21.6” face column was adhered to the panel for 30 days. Just like the previous tests, ArmorWall Plus passed this method as well.

Front and back views of ArmorWall Plus with ArmorSeal flashing tape applied on a simulated joint for 30 days.

During the test, to push ArmorWall Plus even further, Dr. Doggett purposely omitted the 2” liquid flashing lap at the top edge of the flashing, which is a required component of a panelized ArmorWall system. Not only did the flashing still perform well, but the entire system remained efficient after an extended amount of hydrostatic pressure. During the test, water did not penetrate the joint, the coating, or the panel itself; the system repelled it. In addition, the entire system exhibited excellent adhesion of its components despite an omission of a required element.

Conclusion

Reflecting on the overall results of the ArmorWall Plus testing, Dr. Doggett asserts this; “I challenge any thin-mil system to seek the same performance: exceptional adhesion when wetted, very low water absorption, and high bond to its paired tape, flashings and sealants – even under prolonged hydrostatic pressure.

Evolution of the ArmorWall system – it embraced the need to go beyond conventional testing. It embraced the face column and its greater test rigor, duration, and resolution. And the results speak for themselves.”

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