Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Miracle Polymer for the New Millennium

ETFE can be made into glass-like sheets or inflated in pillows and is being used in some of the most innovative new buildings around the world By Elizabeth Woyke (BusinessWeek) ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) is the building material of the future. This wonder polymer, a transparent plastic related to Teflon, is replacing glass and plastic in some of the most innovative buildings being designed and constructed today. Its selling points? Compared to glass, it’s 1% the weight, transmits more light, is a better insulator, and costs 24% to 70% less to install. It’s also resilient (able to bear 400 times its own weight, with an estimated 50-year life-span), self-cleaning (dirt slides off its nonstick surface), and recyclable. Architects started working with ETFE some 15 years ago. The material will soon get a boost with the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where it’s an integral part of the distinctive designs of both the Beijing National Stadium and Aquatics Center. Here’s a sample of the most ambitious and creative architectural projects around the world that utilize ETFE. Read the story