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ETFE - short version

Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene.

ETFE - long version

Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, ETFE, a kind of plastic, was designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. technically ETFE is a polymer, and its systematic name is poly(ethylene-co-tetrafluoroethylene). ETFE has a very high melting temperature, excellent chemical, electrical and high energy radiation resistance properties. When burned, ETFE releases hydrofluoric acid, which is extremely corrosive. Combustion of any other similar class of fluoropolymer will also result in the release of hydrofluoric acid.

Chemical, mechanical, physical, and thermal properties

Compared to glass, ETFE film is 1% the weight, transmits more light and costs 24% to 70% less to install. It's also resilient (able to bear 400 times its own weight, self-cleaning (due to its nonstick surface) and recyclable. On the other hand it is prone to punctures by sharp edges, therefore it is 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 6100 psi, with a working temperature range of -300 °F to 300 °F.


The Eden Project biomes are constructed with ETFE cushionsAn 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 wiring used in high stress, low fume toxicity and high reliability situations. Aircraft wiring is a primary example.

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 industry for wire coatings. This is because ETFE has better mechanical toughness and chemical resistance compared to 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.


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