Published: September 26, 2007
Birdair, Inc., the leading innovator in custom architectural fabric membrane roofing systems, is taking its lineup of premium materials one step further with the introduction of TensothermTM, a next-generation composite roofing material that solves an important industry challenge.
Birdair, in partnership with Cabot Corporation and Geiger Engineers, will produce the new material offering the same grace and flexibility of Birdair’s renowned tensile roofing fabrics, but with the added benefits of translucent Aerogel, a feather-light insulation layer also known as “frozen smoke” that enhances the material’s thermal performance.
This insulating material, created using Cabot’s patented surface modification and fine-particle manufacturing technology, has an air content of 95%, making Aerogel the lightest solid material in the world. Just one 3mm granule – a size equivalent to the head of a pin – has more than 10 billion microscopic holes, more than 1,000 trillion pores and enough nanostrands linked end-to-end to create a twin-sized bedsheet. The nanosized pore size and unique structure traps air at a nanoscale to prevent heat loss and solar heat gain even when compressed, making Tensotherm a welcome addition to Birdair’s wide range of fabric membrane roofing options.
“This product greatly expands the utility of tensile membrane as a building material, making it an appropriate material for climates and building applications where it was previously not the best choice,” said Dave Campbell P.E., Principal and CEO of Geiger Engineers. “We are very excited about this material. Tensotherm adds a whole new dimension to building envelope design.”
The translucent Aerogel layer in Tensotherm, produced by Cabot’s manufacturing facility in Frankfurt,
Germany, is cold formed and sandwiched between two layers of Birdair fabric membrane to enhance thermal efficiency and help Birdair roofing systems meet increasingly demanding energy and building code regulations. It also maintains Birdair fabric membrane’s notable daylight harvesting qualities by transmitting and diffusing large percentages of natural light while offering superior sound insulation.
Tensotherm, which can be configured to deliver U values across a wide range, shares the same benefits as Birdair’s other fabric membrane choices, making it extremely malleable, durable and fade resistant. It is also water repellent to resist mold and mildew. These traits ensure that Birdair’s new Aerogel-infused fabric membrane will offer added value to help architects and designers achieve their specific architectural roofing applications.
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About Birdair: Birdair, Inc. is the leading specialty contractor of custom tensile structures throughout the world. In addition to pre-construction services such as design assistance, budgeting, construction methodologies and project scheduling, Birdair provides design-build solutions in all aspects of project design, engineering, installation and maintenance. The company offers a selection of architectural fabric membranes, including PTFE fiberglass, ETFE film, PVC and Tensotherm™. Birdair, based in Buffalo, NY, is a member of the Taiyo Kogyo Group, with operations serving North and South America and other international locations. For more information about Birdair, like us on Facebook, call 1-800-622-2246 or visit www.birdair.com.