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The properties, benefits and uses of lightweight composite panels

Lightweight panels, or a sandwich panel, are commonly used in construction or manufacturing. At Panel Systems, we offer lightweight sandwich panels for the automotive, manufacturing and construction industries.

Understanding the properties, benefits and uses of lightweight panels will help you to specify the correct panel for your needs. Read on to find out all you need to know about these high-strength, low-weight panels.


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What are lightweight panels?

While more traditional panelling created from plywood, MDF and heavy metals may be widely used, a lightweight composite panel, also known as a sandwich panel, offers an effective alternative to heavy materials. Explicitly designed to improve internal strength while reducing the overall weight impact of the constructions in the automotive, construction, leisure vehicle and manufacturing industries, lightweight panels offer an excellent alternative to traditional solutions.

Typically manufactured with  honeycomb or extruded foam cores for the lowest weight possible, there is a range of different options available on the market. These strong, lightweight panels can then be faced with a range of outer facing and core materials to match your usage and design choices, including GRP, ABS, PVC, aluminium, steel, laminate, plywood and MDF.

The key properties of lightweight panels

Lightweight panels have a number of key properties that make them suitable for their various applications.


As the name suggests, one of the key and most essential features of a sandwich panel is how lightweight they are. This makes them incredibly suited to a wide range of uses, providing a reduced weight without sacrificing any of the strength of more traditional panel options. This means they are easier to use and manoeuvre and more practical in reducing the weight of any number of construction projects.

Durable and resistant

With such a low weight, it’s easy to think these panels do not have the same durability or resistance as other panels. Thanks to their sandwich construction, lightweight panels offer exceptional strength, durability and excellent impact resistant for extended use and construction or manufacturing. By using different techniques, these panels also have excellent compression properties, further adding to their strength.

The main benefits of lightweight panels

Lightweight panels have a wide range of different benefits across several different applications.

Versatile and flexible

Due to their versatility and flexibility, lightweight panels can be created using various core materials, allowing for the needs of specific projects to be met. Similarly, a comprehensive selection of compatible outer materials, means lightweight panels can take on any look or property required.

Thermal efficiency

The thermal efficiency that lightweight panels provide, especially with a foam-based core material, make them the ideal choice for applications where retaining heat or cold is essential, such as refrigerated vehicles. The panels’ cost-efficiency also means there is no significant increase in cost for the benefit of improved thermal efficiency, as well as for the durability and impact resistance of these panels.

Design flexibility

The flexibility of design is another benefit of lightweight panels to consider. Because these panels are so versatile, they can be customised and tailored to a wide range of uses and requirements. Whether a specific design is required for a project or something simple, the flexibility of these panels means they can be used for a wide range of purposes.

The uses of lightweight panels

With so many benefits, it’s no surprise a lightweight panel can be frequently used across many different industries. The functionality and flexibility of the design mean that these composite panels can be adapted to suit a range of different purposes.


The strength and excellent compression properties of lightweight panels with a honeycomb core make them the perfect match for marine construction and design. With the ability to combine core panels with a range of different water-suitable materials, adding internal strength is easy with the right panelling. The weight reduction also benefits marine vessels greatly, allowing for easier and faster movement.


In aviation, weight is a critical consideration in saving costs and ensuring the best possible efficiency. Lightweight panels’ lower weight and excellent functionality are ideal for aircraft, providing a way to include high-quality panelling without the worry of weight restrictions or additional bulk.

Trucks, buses and trains

Excellent durability and reliable design make lightweight panels a good fit for trucks, buses and trains. For any vehicle where reduced weight is a benefit and long-lasting strength is a must, these functional panels offer everything needed to improve efficiencies without reducing the passenger experience thanks to the wide range of facing options.

Refrigerated vehicles

For any vehicle where thermal regulation is a priority, lightweight panelling may be the best option. Foam core composite panels, in particular, provide excellent efficiency by reducing the escape of cool air, ensuring a consistent internal ambient temperature for the length of the journey.

Clean rooms

Lightweight aluminium honeycomb panels can be paired with a wide array of, suitable facings for use in clean rooms. Not only can this help to keep a stable temperature, but aluminium honeycomb cored panels also have the benefit of higher sterility than an absorbent material such as MDF.


For the creation of door panels, furniture, ramps and even kitchen worktops, lightweight panels boost stability and offer excellent durability over the long term. The handling of light furniture is an effective option for manufacturers, allowing for easy movement and installation without sacrificing quality and strength.

Choosing Panel Systems as a supplier for lightweight panels

Why choose Panel Systems? With extensive experience in panelling, our reliable service is the best choice for you. In-house CAD design and a wide range of finishes offer you incredible flexibility for your requirements. For longevity of service and the best quality materials, Panel Systems has you covered.

For more information about lightweight panels, please contact our expert team today.

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Get in touch to find out more about pricing, or to discuss your requirements in more detail.

Get in touch to find out more about pricing, or to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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