Polyester fabrics coated with PVC are very popular in membrane architecture. PVC membrane is a cost-effective alternative to traditional roofing systems and can be produced in a multitude of colors to coordinate with individual building project needs. When produced in bright white, this flexible fabric membrane reduces radiant heat gain, keeping interior temperatures cooler during warmer weather conditions. PVC membrane is commonly coated with a protective acrylic or PVDF top coat with a design life of approximately 15-20 years. If PVC membrane is exposed to high levels of UV in such areas like Florida or in the Southwest U.S., the design life of PVC is approximately 10-15 years.Technically, PVC is a molecule comprised of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine. The combination of these elements results in a single-ply membrane that is simple to manufacture. During fabrication, remnants can be recycled and melted down to be reproduced, resulting in less waste. Because PVC is a thermoplastic, this membrane can be softened into a semi-solid state and infused with UV light inhibitors and anti-soiling fungicides. During installation, multiple sheets of the fabric can be overlapped and fused together in a process known as weldable seam technology. Once cooled at room temperature, these sheets form one continuous membrane.
PVC coated with non-toxic and flame-resistant TiO2 produces a photocatalytic membrane that functions like the leaves of a tree, providing shade and comfort while actively neutralizing airborne pollutants and odors. The unique self-cleaning benefits of TiO2 allow the material to break down dirt and other organic materials through a chemical reaction with the sun’s UV rays, oxygen and water vapor, present in the air. This reaction, known as oxidation-reduction, converts these materials into harmless gases and natural components without using excess chemicals, solvents or water. The resulting sediments are simply washed away by rain. As a result, the membrane material remains bright and clean, reducing the need for frequent service.
PVC-coated (polyvinyl chloride) mesh is an exceptionally durable fabric membrane produced with polyester, fiberglass and other types of reinforcements. PVC-coated mesh is weaved during fabrication, resulting in increased tensile strength. This enhanced tensile material offers architects and building owners greater versatility during the design phase of project development, diminishing concerns about fabric compatibility and size.In addition, PVC-coated mesh can be stitched, welded or glued to form the membrane on Birdair’s tensile structure systems. These systems can be used in a wide range of climates, making it a sound choice for a multitude of weather conditions (-30° C to +70° C). PVC-coated mesh also offers aesthetic features such as partial translucency, which allows natural daylighting, increased textural interest and wide color selection.Most recently, PVC-coated mesh has been designed for flat surface applications, lending itself to exciting graphic image printing possibilities for commercial projects and more.