Nowadays and due to the big advances produced in the world of the agriculture and the greenhouses, as well as the globalization of the market of these, we have a great variety of available products to cover all the needs of our greenhouses all over the world.
It is very important the correct choice of the material that we will use for covering our greenhouse, as it will influence some of the variables that more concern our crop, as the radiations that come to our plants, the diffuse light, the level of shading that we want, temperature or humidity. We will also have to consider factors such as the durability of the material and, logically, the cost.
DIFFERENTS COVERING MATERIALS FOR GREENHOUSES
Between the possible covering materials that we can find, the most popular are the flexible plastic films, being the most used the polyethylene, and rigid, such as the plates of polycarbonate or the glass.
At the moment of developing flexible plastic films, the most used material is the polyethylene and his copolymers, in spite of the fact that it does not have the necessary characteristics, together with various additives it is able to become photostable, opaque material for the infrared radiation and hydrophilic. The biggest advantages of the polyethylene would be its malleability, easy installation and the cost-benefit ratio that it offers in comparison with the rest of materials.
The plates of polycarbonate offer us more durability and resistance to the impact, so they are often used in more extreme climates where we find a high level of precipitation. Its main disadvantage, opposite to the polyethylene, is its high cost. According to the light that they leave to happen they can be colorless, of “skin of orange “, translucent or opaque and according to his section they can be cellular or wavy.
Glass Greenhouses, named also as “venlo type”, are very used in cold weather climates. They have advantages such as a total water tightness and greater insulation than simple plastic. Its principal disadvantages are its high cost in comparison with the rest, its fragility against the impacts and its high weight for what we will need a structure more resistant and adapted to this material.
As a substitute for this option, although it is very little used at the moment, the use of ETFE (Ethylene TetraFluoroEthylene), which is a type of plastic normally used in architecture in buildings as emblematic as the Allianz Arena in Munich, is starting to be studied. It was designed to have high resistance to corrosion and load, supporting up to 400 times its weight. Against it, we can highlight its high cost, being up to 15 times more expensive than conventional plastic, requiring much more specialization for the installation and structures adapted to it.
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