ETFE is the fluoropolymer-material ethylene tetrafluoroethylene which is used in structural membrane constructions in thicknesses from 0.05 to 0.25 mm.
ETFE was invented by the Dupont corporation. Its primary use was as an insulating material for use in the aeronautics industry. It was considered as a highly specialized material with no significant mainstream applications, though it was often the preferred material when old polythene sheet used for greenhouse polytunnels required replacement.
Difficult to tear, highly transparent and a useful life up to 50 years were benefits difficult to ignore, and in time it would find applications in sails to roofs.
ETFE continues to gain acceptance as a component for cladding systems. Its increasing use in a multi-layer “pillows” offer very lightweight and cost-effective solutions for the construction sector while also adding geometrically flexible configurations and effective insulation without any significant degradation of ETFE’s high levels of transparency.
ETFE foil is produced in thicknesses between 50 and 250 microns. When used as pillows, air pressure is kept between 200 and 750 Pa., depending on use and weather conditions such as winds and snow load considerations.