ETFE- plastic facade system

2 Dec


Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, ETFE, a kind of plastic, was designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. Technically ETFE is a polymer, and its systematic name is poly(ethylene-co-tetrafluoroethylene). ETFE has a very high melting temperature, excellent chemical, electrical and high energy radiation resistance properties. When burned ETFE releases hydrofluoric acid.


Chemical, mechanical, physical, and thermal properties

Combustion of ETFE occurs in the same way as a number of other fluoropolymers, in terms of releasing hydrofluoric acid (HF). HF is extremely corrosive, and so appropriate caution must be exercised.

Compared to glass, ETFE film is 1% the weight, transmits more light and costs 24% to 70% less to install. It’s also resilient (able to bear 400 times its own weight, self-cleaning (due to its nonstick surface) and recyclable. On the other hand it is prone to punctures by sharp edges, therefore it is mostly used for roofs.[1] In sheet form as commonly employed for architecture, it is able to stretch to three times its length without loss of elasticity. Employing heat welding, tears can be repaired with a patch or multiple sheets assembled into larger panels.

ETFE has an approximate tensile strength of 42 N/mm² (6100 psi), with a working temperature range of 89 K to 423 K (-185 °C to 150 °C or -300 °F to 300 °F).[2]

The Eden Project biomes are constructed with ETFE cushionsAn example of its use is as pneumatic panels to cover the outside of the football stadium Allianz Arena or the Beijing National Aquatics Centre (a.k.a. the Water Cube of the 2008 Olympics) – the world’s largest structure made of ETFE film (laminate). The panels of the Eden Project are also made of ETFE and the Tropical Islands have a 20,000 m² window made of this translucent material.

Another key use of ETFE is for the covering of electrical wiring used in high stress, low fume toxicity and high reliability situations. Aircraft wiring is a primary example.

As a dual laminate, ETFE can be bonded with FRP as a thermoplastic liner, and used in pipes, tanks, and vessels for additional corrosion protection.

ETFE is commonly used in the nuclear industry for tie or cable wraps, and in the aviation industry for wire coatings. This is because ETFE has better mechanical toughness and chemical resistance compared to PTFE. In addition, ETFE exhibits a high-energy radiation resistance and can withstand moderately high temperatures for a long period of time. Commercially deployed brand names of ETFE include Tefzel by DuPont, Fluon by Asahi Glass Company , Neoflon ETFE by Daikin,and Texlon by Vector Foiltec.

Buildings using ETFE

Eden Project, Cornwall, United Kingdom
National Space Centre, Leicester, United Kingdom
Atrium, University of Bradford, Bradford, United Kingdom
Pavilion, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, United Kingdom
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Beijing National Aquatics Centre, (the Water Cube) Beijing, China
Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China
Biota! aquarium, London, United Kingdom
Dolce Vita Tejo Shopping Centre, Amadora, Lisbon, Portugal
roof, dedicated underground rail station at the Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, London, United Kingdom
Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza, Dunedin, New Zealand
Islazul Shopping Centre, Madrid, Spain
Kansas City Power & Light District, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Khan Shatyry, Astana, Kazakhstan
Tanaka Business School, London, United Kingdom
Tropical Islands, Brandenburg, Germany
Barnsley Interchange, Barnsley, United Kingdom
The Mall Athens, Athens, Greece
Newport railway station, Newport, United Kingdom
The Elements, Livingston, United Kingdom
Zénith, Strasbourg, France


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