Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, colloquially known by its abbreviation ETFE, is a fluorocarbon-based polymer (a fluoropolymer): a kind of plastic. Trade name "Tefzel". It was designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. In addition it has a high melting temperature and does not emit toxic fumes when ignited.

Chemical and physical properties

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. [ [ ETFE] ] 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.


An 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.

ETFE is commonly used in the nuclear industry for tie or cable wraps. 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, England
* Atrium, University of Bradford, Bradford, England
* Pavilion, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, England
* Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
* Beijing National Aquatics Centre, (the Water Cube) Beijing, China
* Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China
* Biota! aquarium, London, England
* roof, dedicated underground rail station at the Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, London, England
* [ Islazul Shopping Centre] , Madrid, Spain
* Kansas City Power & Light District, Kansas City, Missouri
* Khan Shatyry, Astana, Kazakhstan
* Tanaka Business School, London, England
* Tropical Islands, Brandenburg, Germany
* Barnsley Interchange, Barnsley, England
* The Mall Athens, Athens, Greece
* The Elements, Livingston, Scotland


External links

* [ Material for an Architectural Revolution] , Business Week, April 24, 2007

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