Experimental Assessment and Thermal Characterisation of Lightweight Co-Polymer Building Envelope Materials

  • Eleni Dimitriadou

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Co-polymer facade materials have recently become a popular option in the building industry as an alternative to glazing. Ethylene Tetra-Fluoro-Ethylene (ETFE) foil has been successfully used in many projects as an innovative solution to energy-conscious design challenges. In addition, the use of ETFE membrane has resulted in significant savings in cost and structural support requirements, compared with conventional glazing, due to its low weight. There is a lack of detailed published data reporting its thermal behaviour. This study focuses on the examination of heat transfer through the ETFE membrane, and more specifically heat loss and solar gains. The document examines the impact of the material on the energy use of a building, as well as thermal comfort and interior conditions. Through field-testing and computer simulations the research evaluates the material’s thermal properties to obtain results that will assist in estimating the suitability of ETFE foil use in comparison to glass. Field-testing is used to perform a comparison of the thermal and energy behaviour of a fritted double ETFE cushion to a double glazed cover. The two experimental devices under examination present nearly identical energy consumption due to heating requirements. The experimental findings are implemented in Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) and used to identify the necessary steps to accurately reproduce the thermal and energy behaviour associated with both covering materials. Further simulations were undertaken to provide a comparison of several types of ETFE cushions to various types of double glass. More specifically, the types examined are a clear double ETFE roof cover and a fritted double ETFE roof cover in comparison to a standard double glazed roof and a low-E double glazed roof. The roofs covers are examined in relation to energy requirements for both the heating and cooling of a space. Such an assessment of performance will provide information for further investigation to improve the material’s features and optimise energy performance.
Date of Award11 Mar 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorStephen Lo (Supervisor) & Andrew Shea (Supervisor)


  • ETFE
  • membrane
  • hot-box

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