Stressed Skin Membrane

An incredibly light single skin system uses a single layer of ETFE with biaxial tension applied by low force perimeter tensioning.

What Is a Stressed Skin Membrane System?

Novum Membranes has several systems for membranes used in single layers. The SSM-System varies depending on material type, spans and panel sizes. We have systems for small and large ETFE panels, whereas for PVC and PTFE, we use different systems.

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Small Panel ETFE

An incredibly light single skin system uses a single layer of ETFE with biaxial tension applied to it by low force perimeter tensioning. The perimeters and panel intermediates are realized from small aluminum extrusions to make simple frames. The aluminum is typically powder coated. Panel spans are typically under 1m wide and the system is ideal for ribbon skylights and glass renovations where weight matters.

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Larger Panel ETFE

Single skin ETFE with low tension requires frequent support due to its lack of rigidity. Additional transverse support is provided using thin pre-stressed stainless cables in ETFE pockets on the underside of the weather surface. Cable spacing is determined from environmental loads, and the drainage needs very careful planning (especially the perimeters) as the ultra-light system is so flexible. Typically, the cables are one directional and spaced at around 600mm (2’). The weight is below 0.05 kpa (1 psf) making it arguably the lightest enclosure system on the market. Intermediates between large panels use internal guttering.

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Thermal Performance

ETFE in a single skin system has a very nominal thermal performance with a U value of 6 w/m2K. Shading is best accommodated by using tinted colored, solid or translucent material, as opposed to the normal clear. Print patterns can be applied, but with fewer choices as the print is exposed to environmental weathering over time.

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SSM + Woven Materials

The SSM-System for less translucent and more robust designs using PVC and PTFE materials which require higher and biaxial prestress which is constrained using heavier edge profiles and tensioning in two directions. Typically, the materials are stretched over spaceframe grids or stiff steelwork to limit membrane spans so that cables are not required and tension forces can be self-contained within the steelwork. Once stressed, clamping bars are applied as required to prevent uplift. PVC and PTFE materials vary in light transmittance or opacity, but are not transparent.

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Design Services

The Novum Membranes team is available to design the full system as needed. Alternatively, we can provide complete patterning and fabrication to your design work including specifications.

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Applications are unlimited. Typically, the products are suited to non-enclosed spaces such as canopies, small span ribbon skylights, screens, walkway covers, shade covers and green areas.


Features & Specifications

SSM-System In 3D

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

Some Of Our Projects

For designs requiring large lightweight panel areas, small panels tensioned in individual frames without cables, or explosion and bomb blast applications, the Novum Membranes SSM-System can suit all your needs.

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.