Document Type : Research Article


1 Institute for Textile and Fiber Technologies (ITFT), University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 70569, Germany

2 Institute for Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 70174, Germany

3 German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF), Denkendorf, 73770, Germany


Regarding modern, daylight-flooded buildings with large window façades, appropriate shading systems to improve the energy consumption of climate controlling systems are becoming more relevant. Building envelopes contribute largely to the temperature control and should be at best installed on the outside to prevent the interior from heating up. Preferably, those systems work with minimum maintenance and maximum robustness, covering as much of the window area as possible. Previous shading systems were mostly based on rigid-body mechanisms using error-prone joints. Components, whose movability is achieved by a local compliance of the material, offer a way to avoid the usage of mechanical joints. Within this paper, a new fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) façade shading demonstrator called “Flexafold” is presented. Its opening and closing movement are controlled by pneumatic cushions which are integrated directly into the laminate set-up. The Flexafold shows thereby the possibility of producing self‑supporting, adaptive FRP components whose actuators are integrated into the component and thus protected in exterior applications. The functional principles and components of Flexafold, e.g. the locally compliant FRP material, the folding pattern and the integrated actuator system, are explained within this paper. Furthermore, a comparison to existing adaptive façade shading systems “flectofin ® ” and “Flectofold” is given. Copyright © VBRI Press

Graphical Abstract

Adaptive FRP Structures for Exterior Applications