PTFE and fluorothermoplastic-coated glass fabrics resist the ravages of the sun and weather. And the coating's smooth, nonstick surface washes clean with every rain shower.

A high-tech canopy helped shield Germany's new Federal Chancellery cabinet ministers from the elements during a group photo taken in Berlin's Ehrenhof (Courtyard of Honor). Architect Axel Schultes constructed the translucent 2,600 ft2 (240 m2) membrane out of glass fabric coated with PTFE and fluorothermoplastic materials from Dyneon, a 3M Co., Oakdale, Minn. ( The distinctive-looking canopy blends in with the existing architecture while still affording optimum lighting conditions.

The high-performance fluoropolymer coatings increase the fabric's service life and reduce maintenance. PTFE and fluorothermoplastic coatings provide smooth, nonstick surfaces, which makes the glass fabric virtually self-cleaning with every rainfall. The coatings should also help retain the fabric's natural, light color over time. The canopy membrane weighs less than 1.5 kg/m2 and boasts a tensile strength greater than 11 tons/m2. This lets the material stand up to harsh weather including torrential rains and hailstorms. -- Jean Hoffman