PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene, is a woven fiberglass membrane that is extremely durable and weather resistant. PTFE fiberglass membranes can be installed in climates like the frigid arctic or the scorching desert heat with a project life in some cases exceeding 30 years. PTFE fiberglass coating is chemically inert, capable of withstanding temperatures from -100°F to +450°F (-73°C to +232°C). The low-surface free energy of the material creates a surface which is readily cleaned by rainwater. It is also completely immune to UV degradation. This unique combination of inertness, thermal stability and surface properties make PTFE-coated fabric membrane ideal for projects requiring superior weather and fire resistance. PTFE fiberglass structures have been constructed around the world with acceptance by British, French, Italian, Australian, Japanese and German National Standards, as well as guidelines set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
PTFE fiberglass is additionally Energy Star and Cool Roof Rating Council certified. During scientific tests of its solar properties, it was discovered that PTFE fiberglass membranes reflect as much as 73 percent of the sun’s energy while holding just seven percent on its exterior surface. Certain grades of PTFE fiberglass can absorb 14 percent of the sun’s energy while allowing 13 percent of natural daylight and seven percent of re-radiated energy (solar heat) to transmit through.PTFE's fiberglass yarns maintain ultimate tensile strength of 500,000 PSI and a modulus of elasticity of 10.5 x 106 PSI compared to steel, which offers 40,000 PSI and 29 x 106 PSI respectively. Under normal conditions, the fabric behaves elastically and does not undergo significant stress relaxation or creep.
The woven fiberglass gives the PTFE fiberglass membrane its mechanical strength. These filaments, known as beta glass, are the smallest diameter available and provide the membrane with maximum flexibility. The fibers are drawn from hot melt glass through platinum dies into continuous filaments, and are then twisted and plied into yarn bundles. The yarns are woven into a wide structural fabric, which is then coated with PTFE fiberglass to complete the process.The principal element that differentiates PTFE fiberglass membrane from conventional glazing is its advantageous shading coefficient. As lighting levels increase, even cooler climates can realize overall energy savings using PTFE fiberglass membrane. In very warm climates, even low lighting levels make PTFE fiberglass membrane an energy saver versus conventional systems. The savings can be more dramatic when compared with conventional sloped glazing systems.