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Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, ETFE, a fluorine based plastic, was designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. ETFE is a polymer and its source-based name is poly(ethene-co-tetrafluoroethene). 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
ETFE is effectively the high strength version of the other three in this group, often featuring slightly diminished capacities in other fields by comparison.
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.
ETFE film is self-cleaning (due to its nonstick surface) and recyclable. It is prone to punctures by sharp edges and therefore mostly used for roofs. 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).
ETFE resins are resistant to ultraviolet light. An accelerated weathering test (comparable to 30 years’ exposure) produced almost no signs of film deterioration.
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 and fiber optic wiring used in high stress, low fume toxicity and high reliability situations. Aircraft and spacecraft wiring are primary examples. Some small cross section wires like the wire used for the wire-wrap technique are coated with ETFE.
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 and aerospace industries for wire coatings. This is because ETFE has better mechanical toughness than 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.
Due to its high temperature resistance ETFE is also used in film mode as a mold release film. ETFE film such as PMP Film by Honeywell is used in aerospace applications such as carbon fiber pre-preg curing as a release film for molds or hot high pressure plates.
Buildings using ETFE
- Discovery College, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
- Eden Project, Cornwall, United Kingdom
- National Space Centre, Leicester, United Kingdom
- Green 18, Hong Kong Science Park, Hong Kong
- Atrium, University of Bradford, Bradford, United Kingdom
- Atrium, Hartlepool Sixth Form College, Hartlepool, United Kingdom
- Atrium, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
- Pavilion, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, United Kingdom
- Atrium, Malet Lambert School, Kingston upon Hull, United Kingdom
- Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
- BC Place, Vancouver, Canada
- Beijing National Aquatics Centre, (the Water Cube) Beijing, China
- Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China
- FestiveWalk, Resorts World at Sentosa, Singapore
- 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
- Manchester Piccadilly station concourse, Manchester, 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
- South Campus skylight structures, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, United States
- 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
- Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, United States
- Arena Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
- Sandton City, Sandton, South Africa
- Key West Shopping Centre, Krugersdorp, South Africa
- Oceanus Casino, Macau, Special Administrative Region of China.
- West Thames College, Isleworth, United Kingdom
- Masdar city, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- ISS Building Lancaster University
- The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
- Empire City Casino, Yonkers, New York
- Under construction: The new San Mamés Stadium of Athletic Club, Bilbao, Spain
- Fluoropolymer Comparison - Typical Properties DuPont
- Tefzel ETFE Specifications
- Stoelker, Tom (17 August 2012). "STUDIO V Bets on a Curving Lattice Porte-Cochere in Yonkers". Archpaper.com. Architect’s Newspaper. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- Thin films and architectural membranes
- Material for an Architectural Revolution, Business Week, April 24, 2007
- video: ETFE sheet extrusion, April 24, 2009