Types of tensile membrane structures

Tensile fabrics have changed the way that architects approach their work. No longer limited by the properties of concrete, steel, glass and other traditional construction materials, they can use the flexibility and cost efficiency of tensile fabrics to find innovative and creative design solutions. So, what are the types of tensile fabric?

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PTFE fibreglass

PTFE is hugely popular among professionals. It’s a Teflon-coated woven fibreglass membrane, whose key quality is its durability: It can last as part of a structure for up to fifty years. It is equally resistant to the elements and is therefore suitable for use in climates across the globe. There are hundreds of examples of its use in modern building design, of which the most famous is arguably the Denver International Airport in Colorado.

ETFE

EFTE is a fluorine-based plastic which has been specifically engineered to be highly resistant to corrosion, and consequently it’s appropriate for use in a range of temperatures. It has been employed as a major architectural feature in many prominent structures, but the outstanding example is probably the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.

PVC

PVC is a plastic which, owing to its versatility, durability, safety and ease of installation, is used in all manner of building projects. Extremely cost effective, it is the most widely-used polymer used in construction in Western Europe.

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Tensotherm

Crafted from PTFE, a thin and translucent insulation layer and aerogel, Tensotherm is a popular roofing material. Allowing natural lighting and advanced noise and temperature control, it makes a superb tensile canopy for contemporary buildings.

ePTFE

This is a PTFE-coated fabric membrane which boasts unrivalled durability and flexibility. Waterproof and designed to resist UV rays, it can be used in a variety of geographies. It is also highly stain-resistant and easy to maintain and repair, making it suitable for most public and private building enterprises. Available in a number of colours, it also helps to individualise and add impact to each project. As such, architects like those found at http://fabricarchitecture.com/ have real free rein when producing designs.

It’s no exaggeration to say that these tensile fabrics, developed using the most advanced and sophisticated technologies available, have revolutionised modern architecture and urban planning. Critically, they are usually economical to use. Their flexibility, durability and dynamism can be seen in some of the most striking buildings on the planet.

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