Air Filled Pillows

ETFE pillows are comprised of 2, 3, or 4 layers of membrane which are edge welded into sealed units.

What Is An Air Filled Pillow System?

Depending on project specific thermal performance requirements, ETFE pillows are comprised of 2, 3 or 4 layers of membrane which are edge welded into sealed units for inflation. The pillow edges are fed into “keder” aluminum edge profiles which mechanically hook to larger custom aluminum profiles with internal drainage secured to the substructure. Profiles can be supplied anodized or powder coated.

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Pillow Sizes

Air-filled pillows are physically large areas in comparison to conventional metal, plastic or glass cladding panels, allowing nominal structure and a lighter architecture with limited secondary framing. Therefore, integrated pillow and structure designs are faster to site, quicker to build and economical. A further advantage of our pillow system is that it readily adapts to warped surfaces. Conventional rectangular pillows can be very long over 60m (200‘) while widths depend on environmental loadings, typically in the 2-4m range. Pillows can of course be any shape, triangular through octagonal, and have been successfully used in complex freeform structures. As a rule of thumb, triangles to 7.5 m are feasible and squares to 5.5m.

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Air Machines

Pillows are air filled under low pressure by dual chamber pumps (for redundancy) and various sensors and controls are available. Dehumidifiers are considered standard and the air filters are renewable. Pumps might operate at different pressures winter and summer depending on climate and location. Continuous pumping is not required as the system is closed, yet some leakage does occur. Energy use is low. Novum Membranes can coordinate and supply the pumps and piping as required.

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Thermal Performance

Properties can vary due to orientation and the use of solar control techniques. As a general rule, a single layer of ETFE has a U-value of 6, a double layer pillow has a value of 3.0 and a three-layer pillow 2.0 w/m2K. More layers can be added, but with diminishing returns.

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Solar Control

Any layer can be printed for shading and a variety of prints and custom options exist. Print is protected by being placed on the surfaces within the pillow. Additionally, there are new foils available with enhanced infra-red management.

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Variable Shade

Climate control is also possible on rectilinear shaped three-layer pillows by making the middle layer operable with a reverse print, as compared to the outer layer print. Then, two pillow chambers are controlled independently to press the middle layer to the outside to darken the space or let it collapse to permit more light. If U value is important, then a fourth layer can be added.

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Design Principals

The pillow form and internal pressure resist applied loads. Pressures can be increased in the pillows by the pump detecting change via sensors. Three-layer pillows provide more avenues to design for different environmental conditions. Large wind suction loads can require cable straps and high snow may require tensioned middle layers or design for partial collapse. Drainage design is always important to guard against ponding. The thickness of each layer is determined structurally by finite element analysis and the foil are available from 100 to 500 microns. Novum supplies full engineering.

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Novum Features

Wrinkles are greatly reduced or eliminated via the use of Novum Membranes’ in-house developed software which predicts potential prone areas and adjusts the geometric form locally to avoid any wrinkles.

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ETFE material allows light to migrate along its surface. Hence, introducing exciting ways to use lighting effects to change the entire architectural environment which is of great interest in public spaces, arenas, retail applications and more.

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Plants thrive below ETFE due to its properties and our systems are designed with both recycling and corrosion resistance in mind.

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An infinite variety including atriums, roofs, canopies, walls, lighting/marketing displays for sports arenas, retail, medical facilities, schools, swimming centers, horticultural/garden centers, transportation hubs and more.


Features & Specifications

AFP-System In 3D

The project-based animation below showcases the integration of Novum Membranes at work.

Some Of Our Projects

Excellent for sports arenas, aquatic facilities, canopies, atriums, planted areas, corrosive environments, and special effect lighting.

No Concept Is Too Small

We’re here to help you bring your dream ideas to life, no matter how out of reach they might seem. Let’s make it happen.