ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) is a transparent fluoropolymer material known for its exceptional properties. It is a lightweight and highly durable material that offers various benefits in different applications. ETFE is widely used in architectural, construction, and engineering projects for its remarkable performance characteristics. It is a popular choice for applications where high light and UV transmission are required, such as:
ETFE foil demands less structural steel support than traditional glazed systems, resulting in an easier installation, and typically a lower cost alternative. It is often considered a value-engineered option over glass roofing.
ETFE foil roofs can be supplied as a single layer membrane supported by a cable net system or as a series of pneumatic cushions made up of between two and five layers of ETFE.
ETFE is used in a wide range of applications due to its unique properties. It is commonly employed in architectural projects for creating transparent roofs, canopies, and facades. It is also utilized in the construction of sports stadiums, airports, shopping malls, and other large-scale structures. Moreover, ETFE is found in various industrial and scientific applications where chemical resistance, high tensile strength, and transparency are required.
ETFE offers several key benefits that make it a popular choice in many industries. Some of these advantages include:
Alongside its low weight, another major benefit of ETFE is its high translucency. Transmitting up to 95% of light, it is chosen for projects such as stadia with grass surfaces where full spectrum natural light and UV transmission is essential to maintaining plant growth.
The ETFE film also absorbs a large proportion of infra-red light, a quality which can be exploited to improve buildings energy consumption. When high levels of light transmission are not required, ETFE film can be printed or fritted, with a range of patterns to reduce solar gain while retaining transparency.
The base material of an ETFE installation is very transparent. However, the ETFE Foil can be treated in a number of different ways to manipulate its light transmission properties. These include printing, tinting, surface treatments, radiation and adding additional layers.
With an extremely low mass, ETFE cushions limit the amount of reverberation within a room by absorbing the acoustics.
The exact sound levels within an enclosure will depend on the properties of the cushions and the project (e.g. size/scale of room, incline of the pillows, materials used inside, and the span of the pillows).
ETFE has a melting point of approximately 260°C. In the event of a fire ETFE does not promote the spread of flames because it self-extinguishes and does not generate any flaming droplets or particles. If hot gases or flames come into contact with ETFE cladding forming part of the building envelope it will melt and shrink back from the area affected allowing hot gases and smoke to be vented from the building.
The venting of internal spaces consequent to this effect can contribute to the overall fire safety of a building complex. This video shows how ETFE performs in fire.
ETFE has been tested to various international and national standards.
The fire rating of ETFE to British and European Standards (which are very detailed in their rating) is class Bs1d0:
One of the prominent applications of ETFE is in the construction of roofs and canopies. Its lightweight nature and exceptional transparency make it an ideal material for creating visually striking and functional structures. ETFE roofs and canopies can cover large spans, allowing for expansive open spaces and creating a sense of openness.
What is ETFE Foil and how is it made?
ETFE foil refers to a thin film or sheet made from ethylene tetrafluoroethylene. It is manufactured through a process called extrusion, where the ETFE resin is melted and then extruded into a thin, continuous sheet. The resulting foil can be transparent or translucent, depending on the desired application.
What are the benefits of ETFE Foil (e.g., lightweight, thermal performance)
ETFE foil offers several benefits that make it a preferred choice in various industries. It is lightweight, which reduces the overall weight of the structure it is used in, enabling cost savings and easier installation. Additionally, ETFE foil has excellent thermal performance, providing insulation and energy efficiency. It can withstand a wide temperature range, making it suitable for both hot and cold climates.
What are ETFE cushions?
ETFE cushions are inflatable, pillow-like structures made from ethylene tetrafluoroethylene. They consist of multiple layers of ETFE foil that are welded together to create a sealed compartment. These cushions can be inflated with air to form a three-dimensional shape, providing structural support and flexibility.
How do ETFE cushions work?
ETFE cushions work by utilizing the pneumatic properties of the material. When inflated, they create a stable and lightweight structure capable of spanning large areas. The cushions distribute loads evenly, allowing for efficient transfer of forces and ensuring structural integrity.
What are the benefits of ETFE cushions (e.g., UV light transmittance)?
ETFE cushions offer several advantages over traditional building materials. They have high UV light transmittance, allowing natural light to enter the space while providing protection against harmful UV radiation. The cushions are also self-cleaning, thanks to their non-stick surface, and require minimal maintenance. Additionally, ETFE cushions are highly durable, resistant to environmental factors such as weathering, and have excellent fire safety properties.