August 4th, 2008 - Open Knowledge
Aug. 4th, 2008
02:50 am - The Water Cube
The National Aquatics Center in Beijing.
“…The Water Cube was initially designed by PTW Architects (an Australia Architectural company) , CSCEC International Design and Arup with structural Engineers Arup conceiving the structure. The structure was built by CSCEC (China State Construction Engineering Corporation). Comprising a steel space frame, it is the largest ETFE clad structure in the world with over 100,000 m² of ETFE pillows that are only eight one-thousandths of an inch in total thickness, The ETFE cladding allows more light and heat penetration than traditional glass, resulting in a 30% decrease in energy costs.
The outer wall is based on the Weaire-Phelan structure, a foam (structure formed by soap bubbles). The pattern is formed by taking a slice through the foam, and it was chosen in preference to the Kelvin foam because the more complex Weaire-Phelan structure results in more irregular, organic patterns than slices through the regular Kelvin foam.
The structure will have a capacity of 17,000during the games that will be reduced to 6,000 afterwards. It also has a total land surface of 65,000 square metres and will cover a total of 7.8 acres (32,000 m²)…”
ETFE: Material for an Architectural Revolution by Elizabeth Woyke. Businessweek, April 24, 2007
“Imagine a swimming arena made out of bubbles. Or a stadium knit from steel girders like a bird’s nest. Or even an enormous tent, proudly covering over a million square feet of space. A decade ago, such buildings might have existed only in the imagination. Today, they’re being built in Beijing as China’s new National Stadium and National Aquatics Center and as the Khan Shatyry Entertainment Center in Astana, Kazakhstan. All thanks to innovative architects, adroit engineers—and the unusual properties of the material called ETFE.
The material’s appeal is manifold, and those who work with it praise its unique properties. First, it’s extremely light—about 1/100 the weight of glass—and deceptively strong, able to stretch to three times its length without losing its elasticity. (Having said that, a sharp implement like a knife can puncture it—one reason it’s used mostly for roofs.)
If the film does tear, it can be patched with other pieces of ETFE. When exposed to fire, it softens and shrinks away from the heat, naturally venting smoke out of a building. And it’s naturally nonstick, nonporous surface, which has chemical properties similar to DuPont’s other best-selling material, Teflon, is so slick that dirt, snow, and rain simply slide off.
Its light weight reduces corresponding structural costs. Edward Peck, managing director of the North American Division of Foiltec, which now has 12 offices and 250 employees worldwide, estimates that a simple, small roofing project could be 10% cheaper if ETFE were used. For larger, more complicated projects, the overall construction savings could reach 60%.
Then there’s the fun factor. ETFE comes in different finishes (transparent, matte) and colors, and can be lit from within using LED lights or decorated with light projections like a giant movie screen. It can be printed with patterns by running it through a special press—something not possible with glass. It can take myriad shapes, too: Strips can be heat-welded together like fabric squares in a quilt. This “sewing” method enables ETFE to be installed in pieces much longer and wider than glass. A large glass panel might measure 10 ft. by 5 ft., whereas a strip of ETFE could be 180 feet long and 12 feet wide, with structural supports.
It also scores well on the environmentally friendly front, particularly crucial given the current call for greener building practices. The film is recyclable (simply melt and reuse), and due to its light weight, doesn’t require much energy to transport. The Watercube is designed to gather heat passing through its ETFE walls and roof—energy that can be used to heat the building’s water systems or expelled through vents if the building gets too hot….”
03:50 am - Powerfilm photovoltaic membrane
“…The Military Solar Power Shade field shelter provides 1 Kilowatt of solar power to recharge a bank of batteries, and also provides shade from the sun to reduce solar heat load up to 80-90%. Fits over MGPTS, TEMPER, and ISO Storage.
Developed with Eureka Tents of Johnson Outdoors and FTL Design Engineering Studios.
“…Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.
The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.
Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009….”
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