For a long time, architects around the world looked down on plastic polymers as a building material. Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, or ETFE as it is commonly known, was viewed as a handy material for coating in the aerospace industry, but many architects thought of it as a handy coating material only. While it is true that ETFE is fantastic for coating, and Coating Systems offers our own ETFE coating applications, the idea of creating building materials out of a lightweight plastic polymer was seen as impractical. However, recently, architects have begun to experiment with this incredibly versatile polymer. Learn why ETFE has become a mainstay of building design and why you may begin to see it in your area.
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ETFE and Architecture
ETFE was originally developed by DuPont in the 1970s as a lightweight, heat-resistant film used in the aerospace industry. At first, it was largely used as a coating application before being applied to greenhouses and solar cell protection in the architecture field. Around the turn of the Millennium, project managers began to use ETFE in large part because of its ability to regulate environmental conditions, thanks to its ability to allow limited UV light through the material. In addition, architects began to notice reduced maintenance costs as a result of the polymer’s low friction coefficient, which prevented dust and dirt from sticking to the surface.
In 2008, ETFE got its big break when it was used in the Beijing Olympics at the Watercube National Swimming Centre. Chosen for its futuristic aesthetic and acoustic quality, the look of the Watercube went “viral.” Architects began to appreciate the functionality, look, low cost, and low maintenance of ETFE as a building material. In the last decade, ETFE became a top choice for many new sports stadiums. In Minneapolis at the US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings and host of the most recent Super Bowl, the largest ETFE roof in the US was installed and seen by over 103 million viewers in early February. It is safe to say, ETFE is here to stay as a major architectural building material.
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Contact Coating Systems Today
Although ETFE is now a major player in the architecture world, it’s original design as a surface coating still has a multitude of industrial applications. If you think ETFE could be the right material for your industrial coating needs, Coating Systems has the experts to help. With over 40 years of experience in the coating industry, we have the expert knowledge you need for your project. Contact us today at 1-800-593-7754 to learn more!