Natural light penetrating fabric provides an ambience of great appeal to occupants and can support the growth of plants. The use of fabric offers a considerable benefit of providing reflective, subtle and evenly diffused background lighting. It also helps to eliminate or sufficiently reduce the amount of artificial lighting thus providing an energy efficient system and thereby reducing the artificial lighting requirements by almost 40%.
It also helps in providing branding and cooperate identity to roofing membrane thereby providing a suitable background both during day and night. It thus provides a highly efficient marketing tool. Fabric offers another benefit over steel. It reduces the noise from rain, hail and wind. The curvature of the membrane helps in diffusing the noise by absorption and reflection. Tensioned membranes offer both the structure and cladding in one element.
Mainly they are of three types:
Polyester reinforced PVC architectural fabrics have a lifespan exceeding 20 years.When coated with PVDF lacquer it provides effective and efficient cleaning of both surfaces. PTFE membranes are nothing but a coating of polytetrafluoroethylene over woven fiber glass. It is weather resistant, fire proof and has a lifespan of more than 30 years. The last type is the ETFE. It is an extremely light weight transparent film. It finds a great use in stadiums and sports centers. It has an excellent weathering property and a life span exceeding 30 years.
Tension membrane structures are specially designed structures which have special and appropriate design standards and loadings which differ from country to country and region to region. Critical design shape and deflection analysis is the major consideration while designing these tension membrane structures. The design of tension membrane structures should have provisions for removing the run-off water and preventing ponding of rain water and snow loading.
Fire safety is one of the most essential requirements of these tension membrane structures. Essentially these structures are made of specially manufactured fabric materials or fabric membranes which satisfies the fire retardant tests. Those fabrics which satisfy these tests do not support combustion in actual situations of fire.
Cleaning of these membrane structures is more or less easier than cleaning convectional roofs. These structures have few external mechanical fixtures and have a smooth and continuous surface which facilitates easy cleaning. Repair of small tears can be done effortlessly and quickly on sites.