The benefits of an ETFE roof compared to a glass equivalent are becoming increasingly recognised. At Aura we can provide you with the unique and patented TEXO® ETFE panel solution. The TEXO® panel system will hold any architectural fabric at a constant pretension so it will not deflect under wind or snow loads. This allows you to use ETFE in flat or curved panels for your roofing scheme without a complex cable net structure or the regulating pump systems required to maintain the form of ETFE cushion solutions.
The first commercially viable ETFE foils were synthesised by DuPont as long ago as the 1970’s. They were originally to be used as an insulation material for the aeronautics industry but, in terms of construction, were merely seen as an expensive upgrade to the polythene sheeting used in polytunnels. However, in the 1980’s Stepfan Lehnert, a German Engineering student, began to investigate the potential to use this new material, blessed with high transparency and ductility, in mainstream construction. The uptake of his ideas was gradual but in 2001 the completion of the Eden Project roof catapulted the potential of ETFE onto the world stage.
ETFE, or Ethylene Tetra Flouro Ethylene, is a fluorine based plastic and consists of modified copolymers of ethylene and tetrafluoroethylene. It is closely related to PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene or Teflon).
ETFE is highly resistant to corrosion, has a high melting temperature and has a non-stick surface that resists dirt, but most of all it is its light weight that makes it an exciting alternative to glass. At less than 1% the weight of glass an ETFE roof will give you corresponding savings in installation costs and a lower health and safety risk during installation.
TEXO® ETFE panels vs ETFE cushions
You are probably most familiar with ETFE roof cushion systems where a double (or multiple) skin of ETFE is given form by using air to inflate the space between the membranes. The structural stability of the inflated form is maintained by a system of air pumps to regulate any changes in the pneumatic pressure of the cushion. Alternatively ETFE roofs can be constructed using a net of cables to provide and maintain the structural form of the roof.
As mentioned above, Aura is proud to offer a unique ETFE panel system; TEXO®. We know of no other product accredited by the CSTB in Paris as a fabric panel cladding system and with over 250,000 m2 installed worldwide you can be confident that TEXO® is a tried and tested product.
TEXO® panels are easily integrated into standard curtain walling and roofing systems using off-the-shelf gasketry and weather proofing designs and the panels can be up to 2m wide by 8m -10m long. The panel length is only restricted for ease of handling. But it is the unique TEXO® pre-tensioning system that delivers most of the advantages of this versatile product when compared to other ETFE roofing systems. The pre-tensioning system maintains the ETFE membrane in constant tension so there is no need for internal panel reinforcement nor the pump systems required to keep a cushion roof inflated correctly. We are therefore manufacturing and installing fewer components making it quicker and more cost effective for you.
As an ETFE roof option for uninsulated spaces such as railway stations shopping mall walkways or breakout areas, TEXO® will offer you a simple modular system which, on recent comparisons, could be over 30% cheaper than an ETFE cushion equivalent, designed, manufactured and installed. Of course cushion and cable net systems remain your best choice for large clear span and more fluid shapes but, for traditional roof shapes using traditional support systems, TEXO® gives you all the advantages of ETFE but without the risks associated with fabric welds and inflation systems and for a much lower cost.
Please also see our roof canopy and glass replacement pages for more examples of TEXO® projects and don’t hesitate to call us on 02392 001 322 to discuss whether TEXO® could be an option for your next roofing scheme.