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Beijing Olympics feature underwater geosynthetics

September 1st, 2008 / By: / Geosynthetics, Projects

Some of the most impressive aspects of the Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park are underwater.

Photo courtesy of China Textile News.
Photo courtesy of China Textile News.

An artificial lake and wild-water complex in the Chinese city of Shunyi is set in a giant rectangular stretch of land specifically built for the Olympics. Most of the park is made up of a giant man made body of water, also rectangular, with a thin island in the middle. The Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park was developed almost literally out of nothing in a 630-acre area. A 2.2-kilometer rowing and canoeing basin was constructed, up to 5 meters deep in some areas; today, the basin includes eight lanes and a wildwater complex. The water park was designed by Beijing TianHong YuanFang Architectural Design Co. Ltd., and constructed by Beijing Construction Engineering Group Ltd.

Set to debut in the Beijing Olympics last month, the complex rests on an estimated 720,000 square meters of HDPE geomembrane. In accepting the challenge of welding the equivalent of 3.5 football fields of geomembrane each day—just one small part of a workforce of 30,000 men and women who worked for months to prepare Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games—Beijing Construction Engineering Group turned to Leister Process Technologies, Kaegiswil, Switzerland, for help.

Photo courtesy of China Textile News.
Photo courtesy of China Textile News.

For the artificial lake and wildwater complex, there were especially high demands for plastic sealing sheeting, due to the enormous area involved. Each day, up to 19,000 square meters of HDPE sheeting was processed. For the basin floor, .75-millimeter HDPE material was used, and welding was completed with three Leister TwinnyT wedge-welding automations, developed specially for applications in civil and underground engineering. The combination of heating wedge and hot air during the welding process allowed a welding speed of up to 4 meters per minute, achieving a monthly peak performance of up to 196 kilometers welding-seam length on the construction site in Shunyi.

For the lakeside area, 1-millimeter-thick HDPE was used. Two Comet machines, small and lightweight with an integrated operating panel, were easily able to climb the embankments and connect the sheets.

The surface area to be welded was the size of three and a half football fields. Photo: Leister Process Technologies.
The surface area to be welded was the size of three and a half football fields. Photo: Leister Process Technologies.

Alongside the rowing basin, the wildwater complex was built to allow canoeists and kayakers a simulation of a natural watercourse, 500 meters long, with a downhill gradient of 5 meters. This watercourse is lined with .75-millimeter-thick HDPE geomembrane; once again, the vertical welding seams were handled with the lightweight Twinny T machines, which were also used in tunnel construction for overhead welding. To protect the concrete pillars of the bridges over the gigantic water complex, they were encased in HDPE as well, and welded to the sealing sheets on the floor of the lake. Leister’s Fusion 3 lightweight hand extruders were used by the team in these uneven areas.

When the competition ends for more than 30 Olympic medal divisions for rowing, canoeing and kayak, the biggest winners of all may be the construction firms who created a world-class water facility on 630 acres of bare soil. Organizers say that when the 2008 Summer Olympic Games have ended, the park will be transformed into a world-class resort for swimming and recreation.

Galynn Nordstrom is the senior editor of Specialty Fabrics Review magazine.

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