The fifth building material
Maintenance of ETFE constructions (maintenance des verrières gonflables en ETFE )
19 September, 2019 by
The fifth building material
CMC Klebetechnik GmbH

As alternative for glass, ethyltetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) is often used to form pneumatic structures of "cushions". These tensile constructions can be used for rooftops, canopies or other architectural structures. The main advantage is the much lower weight in comparison to glass. Not only because of that ETFE has won a definitive place in the architectural world

The ETFE is a modified copolymer which is extruded into a thin film. The material is ageing resistant, self-cleaning and transparent. It is unaffected by UV light, atmospheric pollution or weathering and extensive testing has shown an anticipated life expectancy in excess of 40 years (used e.g. for green house cladding). The material is self-extinguishing and it is resistant to normal hailstorms.

Single layer constructions are supported by a cable net. Cushions are formed from multiple layers of ETFE. The foil is extremely thin: each layer is between 50 and 300 µm thick, it enables very high levels of light transmission in both the visible (94-97%) and ultraviolet range (83-88%). Together with light weight perimeter frames it is easily possible to have buildings which appear like as they were built of not much more than air. Architectural roofing designs are revolutionized by these ETFE-films since many years now. Also greenhouses (horticultural and industrial) and wall coverings, anti-graffiti protection for high traffic areas and solar collectors are applications, ETFE is used for due to its excellent properties. ETFE has only 1% the weight of glass, is 100% recyclable and is self-extinguishing.

Despite these advantages of ETFE films there are some problems appearing according to the low thickness of the material. Usually cushions are stabilized by inflating with dry air. Especially on rooftops birds love to land there and peck at their food to break it up before swallowing. The bigger the bird the more powerful their pecking action will be. It is widely known that ETFE roofs and Canopies installed nearby or close to stages (e.g. Allianz Arena Munich) or the sea suffer most of this problem. This is because Ravens, Crows or Seagulls use the ETFE roof membranes as an ideal platform to stop and peck at food rubbish or shellfish, crabs and the occasional stolen chip. This often vigorous and powerful pecking action causes punctures and tearing to the ETFE Membrane, opening holes where the inflating air can leak. This causes higher operation cost or the possibility of fatal destruction of a complete cushion.

Fortunately the ETFE material is resistant to tear growth so that it is easy to repair such holes and tears on-site by using a special adhesive tape. This transparent tape is made of the same material as the cushion itself: an 100µm ETFE-film. The adhesive sticks good to the cushion surface and is similar resistant to UV and weathering as the ETFE. It is resistant against creeping of water under the adhesive tape and elastic as the base material of the cushion.

Damages, tears and holes: the solution

This is why CMC 77700 ETFE adhesive tape is ideal for repairing of damages (cracks, punctures and gashes, minor tears or holes) or reinforcement e.g. under supporting cables of single layer constructions. No need to replace individual elements of a roofing construction can save a lot of money. And due to the transparency of the adhesive tape, repairs are nearly invisible. Maintenance with ETFE adhesive tapes from CMC Klebetechnik reduce costs, time and effort for repair.

The fifth building material – Maintenance of ETFE constructions (maintenance des verrières gonflables en ETFE )

ETFE tapes by CMC

CMC 77700, ETFE-Adhesive tape, single side adhesive coated, 

CMC 77701, ETFE-Adhesive tape, single side adhesive coated, with transparent protective liner on adhesive. 

CMC 77703, ETFE-Adhesive tape, double side adhesive coated, with protective liner 

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