Texlon® ETFE technology combines between two and five layers of ETFE foil to form air pressure stabilised cladding panels or a single layer system. ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) foils can be transparent, coloured or printed. The number of layers used in a panel depends on project specific requirements for structural and thermal performance. In addition to the number of foil layers, surface coatings and treatments and embodied pigments can also be utilised to fine tune g-values and U-values for any system.
The Texlon® ETFE system can be used wherever there is need for a high performance, long life, building envelope.
Texlon® ETFE is an acoustically transparent material
Texlon® ETFE is not affected by UV light and atmospheric pollutants. It is chemically inert and has an exceptionally long life span.
Simplifying ventilation design and engineering approaches
ETFE has been tested extensively and is proven to be compliant with international fire safety standards, it does not contribute to the spread of flame or the production of smoke.
Printing technology expertise
We pride ourselves on being the only ETFE manufacturer in the world with an independently-verified EPD.
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When selecting cladding materials it is important to consider acoustic performance criteria, such as resultant ambient or background noise levels, reverberation time, sound absorption and transmission, and sound insulation.
When sounds are produced in an enclosed space, the reflection of those sounds from the surrounding surfaces until the sound waves eventually dissipate is referred to as reverberation.
Texlon® ETFE is an acoustically transparent material with a mass of less than 1kg/m2. This means that sound generated by building occupants passes through the ETFE foil and is not reflected back into the space below, unlike less acoustically transparent materials such as glass.
The time it takes for any individual sound generated in an enclosed space to effectively dissipate is referred to as the ‘reverberation time’. The desired reverberation time for any particular space depends on its proposed function and activities that may take place in that space.
Texlon® ETFE cladding in combination with both harder and more absorbent materials which are typically employed to form internal building surfaces can assist in ensuring that the correct reverberation time for intended usage can be achieved.
Like other cladding materials, rainfall on the outer surface of the ETFE panels will generate some noise. Rain noise can be intrusive in spaces where there is a requirement for minimal background noise, such as certain offices, call centres and libraries.If rain noise is found to be problematic noise intensity can be easily minimised by installing a patented Texlon® RS rain suppression mesh. It is held under tension across the external surface of each panel and traps a buffering layer of incident rain thereby increasing surface mass and consequently reducing both sound generation and transmission.
Tests have demonstrated that the mesh decreases noise levels by 9.7 dB which equates to a 50% noise reduction to the human ear.
The rain suppression mesh will result in a small reduction in light transmission by 5%-10%.
Rain noise has only been found to be a problem requiring remedy in a very small number of buildings for which Texlon® ETFE cladding forms part of the building envelope. As rain suppressors mesh can be easily retrofitted to any installation we would not recommend its inclusion in standard cladding specifications.
The proven design life of Texlon® ETFE inflated cladding systems maintained in accordance with good industry practice is in excess of 30 years.
A well-maintained installation however has an anticipated design life in excess of 50 years. Currently the oldest Texlon® ETFE installation dates back to 1982 and is still fully operational today.
ETFE foil is not affected by UV light, atmospheric pollution (such as sea salt) or other forms of environmental weathering. It has been subject to extensive field and laboratory testing and shows no adverse signs of aging, discoloration or embrittlement. Long-term weathering tests in Arizona and Florida concluded that the foil did not show any signs of degradation or loss of mechanical strength.
Recent empirical Raman spectroscopy testing compared chemical, mechanical, optical properties and tensile strength of archived ETFE foil samples dating back to the original production lots in 1982 with actual samples that had formed part of the installation and new ETFE samples. These tests concluded that the mechanical and optical properties of all foils were almost identical.
The lightweight nature and flexibility of the Texlon® ETFE technology facilitates new design and engineering approaches to moving structures and operable panels.
Supporting steel structures can be designed for stress rather than deflection enabling the incorporation of large opening vents.
In certain cases it is more cost effective to design an entire roof that opens hydraulically, rather than traditional opening vents around the perimeter.
Fire safety is one of the most critical design considerations when selecting building materials. The choice of materials must ensure an adequate level of safety and conform to all applicable fire safety standards.
In the unfortunate event of a fire it is essential to restrict the generation and spread of flames and smoke within the building and to any neighbouring buildings. The propensity of a material to contribute to “fire propagation” is a function of the rate of heat generated by the material in question and the spread of flame by that material. The principle consideration of fire safety design should be the safe exit of building occupants and the safety of firefighting teams.
Texlon® ETFE foil is a safe building material that is principally employed in the formation of building envelopes.
ETFE has a melting point of approximately 260°C. In the event of a fire it 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 U-value is the rate of heat transfer through a building material and is given in units of W/m².K. The lower the U-Value, the greater a product’s resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating qualities.
The number of foil layers employed within a panel and the application of coatings or treatments to those foils determine the U-value of that system.
It is generally the case that increasing the number of layers and therefore the number of separate air chambers within a panel will improve is thermal performance.
Selecting foils and treatments that improve the solar control of a building envelope in any given environment is a specialised discipline.
Texlon® ETFE is an extremely transparent material, the light transmission of a single layer of foil ranges from 88%-95% over the entire solar spectrum. A 200μm ETFE foil is almost 20% more transparent than a 3 mm pane of float glass. It is possible to change the aesthetic and thermal performance of the Texlon® system by applying speciality coatings, printing, and by introducing additional layers of foil. These methods will all help improve comfort levels inside of a building. The occupants are shielded from heat gain, IR and harmful UV radiation, while simultaneously enjoying natural daylight.
ETFE foils are traditionally printed with silver pigments because silver reflects the solar radiation better than other colours. The foils are available in three shades of silver – light, medium and dark. Gold and white lacquers tend to be used for aesthetic purposes, rather than for shading or thermal performance. Modified graphic patterns can be designed upon request.
The Texlon® Vario system overlaps graphics on two or more layers of foil. It is possible to change the aesthetic, insulation and thermal performance by pneumatically arranging the layers. Graphic templates must meet geometrical patterning requirements.
Solar control is the reduction of the amount of solar energy passing through the Texlon® system, visible light transmission, re-radiated heat gain or loss and convection.
Sustainability is central to our philosophy and influences every aspect of the design of Texlon® ETFE cladding technology. Vector Foiltec is committed to developing and delivering methods that add economic, environmental and social value to communities and industry.
The use of Texlon® ETFE offers significant environmental benefits when compared to alternative transparent cladding systems. This is true whether it is used for new buildings or refurbishment projects. The low levels of embodied energy and outstanding environmental benefits result in ecologically benign building envelopes.
Choosing Texlon® ETFE can facilitate a reduction in requirements for artificial lighting, environmental control and the mass of supporting structures, while allowing for a faster installation compared to similar glazed systems.
Texlon® inflated panels that have reached the end of their useful phase, and ETFE offcuts are recycled. The material is made into valves and other small components that are used in the manufacture of new ETFE systems. The aluminium cap and base profiles can be re-used for new buildings and refurbishment projects or recycled. Following two years of empirical data collection, comprehensive life cycle analysis and third party evaluation, the
Texlon® ETFE system was the first ETFE System in the world to be awarded an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Our efforts have been recognised by the Eco Platform which promote EPDs in European and international markets.
You want to know why an EPD is key in construction? Have a look at this video which explains how and why to use an EPD for e.g. a roof or facade with Texlon® ETFE.
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