In the last few years, Architects have become more and more aware of the properties of ETFE and how it can be incorporated into innovative designs to maximum effect. Right across the globe, projects have sprung up where the extraordinary versatility of ETFE has aided the Architects design ideas. Often one needs only to look above your head in walkways and atria to see evidence of its popularity as well as being aware of more well known examples such as the Allianz arena or Sentosa Bay in Singapore.
The benefits of ETFE in Architecture are:
- Lightweight material requires less support structure.
- Extraordinary tear resistance and mechanical properties allowing it to take large loads.
- Higher transparency than glass and allows through more of light spectrum creating healthier internal environments.
- Extremely long time span. Estimates exceed 30 years.
- Will not support combustion and is safer in use, requiring fewer fire exits than where other plastic construction materials are used.
- ETFE exhibits very low co-efficient of friction, which means that dirt finds it very difficult to adhere to the panels; they are thus “self-cleaning”.
Using their expertise in Fluoroplastics, Holscot have created an innovative product in their ETFE Panels that uses all the benefits of ETFE as used by other ETFE products and have created a new patented modular system. This system is designed to be fitted as glazing to most applications and can be used on projects ranging in size from large atria roofs down to smaller domestic applications.
As well as having similar properties to other ETFE products on the market, Holscot’s ETFE Panel System benefits from its modular form. This allows for quick and easy construction without the need for specialist equipment which can reduce costs and building time. In addition, due to the tension of the ETFE being held in the frame of the panel rather than through inflation techniques, there is no risk of failure if punctured or damaged.
The benefits of the ETFE Panel System in Architecture are:
- The unique and innovative design allows the premade lightweight panels to be slotted together to form a variety of design solutions.
- Can be used on large scale projects or simple domestic applications such as garden rooms.
- The modular form allows for quick construction time without the need for specialist personal or equipment.
- Good thermal properties that match the performance of double glazing.
- Can be easily repaired or replaced if damaged.
Holscot have partnered with the University of Nottingham to look into ways in which the ETFE Panel System can be developed and incorporated within architectural applications. This project has examined the optical and thermal performance of the system. Using the facilities at the University, Holscot have been able to carry out thermal testing within their state of the art climatic chamber which has shown that the panels have a thermal performance which is comparable with double glazing. In addition to this, testing on the Holscot Test Structure has been undertaken using University Equipment to analyse the performance of the structure under seasonal variations of weather conditions.
Holscot and the University of Nottingham will continue to examine the performance of the ETFE Panel System so that the products are best designed to meet the needs of designers and architects.
|Panel||Make up of Unit||Lowest u-value in range (W/m2K)||High u-value in range (W/m2K)||Range||Average u-value (W/m2K)|
|Double Glazing Unit||6mm plain float glass, 18mm air gap, 6mm plain float glass. Sealed, No Frame||2.73||2.91||0.18||2.82|
|250μm ETFE on Aluminium Frame||250μm plain ETFE, 30mm air gap, 250μm plain ETFE. Sealed around Aluminium Frame||2.91||3.11||0.2||3.00|
|100μm ETFE on Aluminium Frame||100μm plain ETFE, 30mm air gap, 100μm plain ETFE. Sealed around Aluminium Frame||2.93||3.11||0.18||3.03|
Abu Dhabi Butterfly Farm
As part of an expansion project of the Abu Dhabi Zoo Complex, a new Butterfly House is being constructed. Holscot has supplied over 400 ETFE encapsulated Aluminium Panels of varying sizes and shapes which will be assembled into a structure created by Penang Butterfly Farms. Some panels were clear – others frotted to reduce sunglare. Holscot worked very closely with Penang Butterfly Farms to develop the most effective construction for this prestigious edifice.
As at June 2017, the first panels had been incorporated into the roof space with a view to completing the structure by Autumn 2017