30 July 2008 00:00 [Source: ICB]
The Olympics will not only showcase some of the world's greates sporting talent but chemicals will also have a starring role
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Andy Brice/LondonTHE 2008 Beijing Olympic Games are on track to be the biggest and best yet: 28 sports, 302 events and almost 11,000 competitors all crammed into just three weeks.
The $100m (€64m) bubble-wrapped "water cube" sits alongside the main stadium and will host the swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming events.
Australia's PTW Architects appointed UK engineers Arup to work on the 17,000 capacity Aquatics Center, which is cloaked in 4,000 translucent air-filled bubbles made from ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) - a lightweight and transparent plastic film. Germany's Vector Foiltec is supplying its Texlon EFTE, which weighs just 1% of an equivalent-sized glass panel.
This was the first application of its kind in China and, with 100,000m² (1m square feet) of ETFE cladding, is the world's largest.
The material boosts the building's energy efficiency, trapping solar energy to heat the swimming pools, while providing natural light that reduces electricity requirements. Around 20% of the solar energy is captured - equivalent to covering the roof with photovoltaic cells. Thermal mass heat storage ensures that the buildup of heat during the day is offset by overnight cooling.
The bubbles cling to a frame made from 6,500 tonnes of steel. All steelwork is protected by products from Netherlands-based AkzoNobel's Marine & Protective Coatings and Powder Coatings businesses, including Interzinc, Intergard and Interfine. Around 1,000kg of Interpon powder coatings has also been used.
The 660,000m2 Olympic Village is the largest non-competition venue, and will be home to more than 16,000 athletes and officials during the competition.
Its design showcases the use of solar energy and recycled water: solar power is used to light lawns, courtyards and streets, while rainwater will also be collected and reused. A 6,000m2 solar water-heating system will provide hot water for all apartments and facilities.
China Shoto, China's largest producer of backup lead acid batteries, supplied 40 sets of super capacitors for solar energy street lighting. These were manufactured by China Shoto's subsidiary, Nanjing Shuangdeng Sci & Tech Academy in Jiangsu Province.
The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games are on track to be the biggest and best yet: 28 sports, 302 events and almost 11,000 competitors all crammed into just three weeks.
Of the 31 venues dotted about the city, 12 have been specially built for the games - and all with plenty of time to spare. Chemicals have, of course, played a major part in the preparations.
Against a background of producers being ordered to shut their facilities before the opening ceremony and trucks being forced off nearby roads to help minimize the smog lingering around the city, the Olympics have also had a positive impact for the chemical sector.
Existing sporting venues have undergone extensive refurbishment, while the new landmark projects have also required countless tonnes of product sourced from around the world.
The Olympic Green Hockey Field is one of 13 venues in the Olympic Green, in Northeast Beijing. The arena measures more than 15,500m2 and is a temporary venue that will be transformed into part of the Olympic Forest Park after the games.
It is home to two fields - one capable of holding 12,000 spectators, and another with 5,000 seats that will be used for the preliminary rounds.
Sports Technology International, the Australian partner of synthetic grass manufacturer TenCate, won the contract to supply the artificial grass pitches.
Using TenCate's Thiolon LSR (low sliding resistance) technology, the polyethylene (PE) grass fiber surface is designed to improve shock absorption, helping to prevent injuries, while also increasing water drainage.
The 91,000-seater National Stadium - an intertwined steel structure, affectionately dubbed the Bird's Nest - is undeniably the most striking of the new venues. It has become the symbol of China's games, replacing Chairman Mao's image on the country's freshly-printed yuan (CNY) 10 ($1.46) banknotes for the first time in almost a decade.
Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron designed the $500m (€315m) stadium, which will host the track and field events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Behind its giant steel cage, engineers fitted the same inflatable plastic pillows that surround the neighboring aquatics centre (see box, right) for the stadium's roof. Another layer of membrane, made from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), covering 53,000m2 (570,000 square feet), ensures sound insulation inside the stadium.
Elsewhere, German chemical giant BASF supplied its concrete admixtures, helping to reduce construction time. Italian sport flooring specialist Mondo was chosen as an official supplier for the games, providing its new Mondotrack FTX for the running surface (see page 32). Around 140,000m2 of synthetic track made from natural rubber was installed in April.
Swiss specialty chemical firm Ciba supplied pigments for the running surface, and for the red plastic chairs that populate the stands of the stadium. The seats were produced by Yanshan Petrochemical, a subsidiary of Sinopec, and are made from modified polypropylene (PP).
Ciba's Cromophtal DPP Red BOC and Red 2020 pigments, together with the light stabilizer Tinuvin XT, provide durable, weatherproof coloring for the chairs. The coloring should remain fade-resistant for three years under ultraviolet radiation.
The green credentials of the site are bolstered by a rainwater collection system and a passive ventilation system. US technology firm Honeywell also supplied closed-cell polyurethane (PU) foam insulation using its hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) liquid Enovate blowing agent to insulate the walls for the seating areas - its first use in a major public building in the region.
AND OUTSIDE BEIJING SHENYANG OLYMPIC STADIUM
The stands within the 60,000-seater football stadium in Shenyang are protected by a giant petal-shaped transparent roof developed by Bayer Sheet Europe (BSE) - a business unit of Germany's Bayer MaterialScience.
BSE supplied its Makrolon polycarbonate (PC) sheeting for more than 21,500m2 of the roof and the building's facade.
The 25mm-thick sheets are lighter than glass but strong enough to bear a load of more than 3kN/m2.
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