For thousands of years, buildings and other structures became a part of human existence. From dwellings providing shelter and safety, bridges to safely cross from one point to another, monuments and religious sites for worship, and everything in between…
One thing they all have in common is they were built for a purpose and in most cases were expected to stay standing for as long as possible.
This length of time, however, can be shortened due to various factors such as poor materials, harsh weather, natural disasters, and so on.
Now, in the modern world, the materials available can address these challenges, with fluoropolymer coatings being one that is increasingly used in architectural applications.
Why Use Fluoropolymers in Architecture?
First of all, a fluoropolymer’s durability ensures longevity against the effects of weather on buildings and other structures.
These coatings resist ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and also help buildings retain the paintwork aesthetics which nowadays seems to rate just as highly as build quality.
Types of Fluoropolymers Used in Architecture
Now, let’s get into the details of the fluoropolymers used in architecture…
Well, the two most commonly called are polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and fluoroethylene vinyl ether (FEVE).
What is PVDF?
PVDF, when mixed with acrylic, retains the paint finish and gloss to architectural structures for up to 30 years. PVDF coatings are versatile and are suitable for use on a wide range of metal substrates, including aluminum, aluminized steel, and galvanized steel.
Further, PVDF smartly repels UV radiation and makes the structure resistant to environmental chemicals and weather fluctuations. All in all, PVDF is the go-to fluoropolymer for structures that require longevity.
What is FEVE?
FEVE coatings generally contain lesser amounts of fluorine compared to PVDF coatings. How does that make a difference? Well, because of low fluorine content, FEVE is also not as UV ray-resistant as PVDF.
Then, why use FEVE in architectural applications at all? FEVE is used because it is more versatile and can be used on many more types of materials than PVDF.
Also, it can be mixed with many different compounds, enhancing the look of the building or the architectural structure.
Applications of Fluoropolymers in Architecture
PVDF and FEVE are both excellent fluoropolymers and have their unique properties. Hence, they are typically used for different kinds of applications. Let’s look at those applications.
Common uses of PVDF
Where longevity is the primary concern, PVDF is the material that architects and construction engineers prefer.
So, you might typically see PVDF in metal-roofing, doors, windows, and any external architecture that has metal in it.
Common Uses of FEVE
FEVE coatings may not last more than 20 years on average, but they can be used on a variety of materials, such as glass, fiberglass, plastic, and, of course, metals.
And because they have excellent colour retention properties, they are used in applications where the look of the structure is of utmost importance, such as high-end buildings made of composite panels, skylights, storefronts, fiberglass doors and windows, and so on.
Increasing Architectural Demands
Fluoropolymers are here to stay, thanks to the rising demands in architecture. Everyone wants to design homes and offices, museums and stores, in such a way so that they not only require minimum maintenance but also retain the gloss and the colour for a long time.
Other demands in modern architecture include roof-cooling features and graffiti-resistant walls. Both demands can be fulfilled by fluoropolymer coatings.
The reduction in long-term maintenance and increased overall protection of structures are primary reasons fluoropolymers will continue to be a success in the architectural space.