Curved shapes are synonymous with tensile and membrane architecture and in many cases the fascinating appearance of these structures is solely attributed to the shapes allowed by the physical properties of these materials. Although, fabric materials and foils are flexible with very little stiffness, they display high tensile resistance. Additional characteristics such as lightweight and translucence or even transparency make membrane materials ideally suited for creating unique architecture.
Transparent roofs and facades can be created with ETFE-films, whereas semi-transparent open mesh fabrics are often used for facade structures and tight woven coated fabrics are used for roofings. Most tensile fabric structures use either PVC-coated polyester fabrics (also known as PVC/PES) or PTFE-coated glass fibre fabrics (also known as PTFE). The range of coated fabrics on the market is extremely large and also includes silicone coated glass fibre fabrics and PTFE-fabrics (made from expanded PTFE-fibres) that have a special fluorpolymer coating.
Uncoated fabrics are generally used for interior architecture applications to act as acoustic panels or create lighting effects.
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