Nov 10, 2017 in Review

Building the Water Cube

It is hard to call Physics an Olympic sport. But in fact, the discipline will really play a big part in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.  The one of the finest scientists and engineers of Great Britain, Lord Kelvin (born William Thomson) patented 70 inventions and published 661 papers in the I9th century. The theory of bubbles by  Kelvin, inspired the creators of an Olympic arena.

One of the most impressive legacies of the Olympic Games was the National Swimming Centre, or the Water Cube (Gonchar; 2008, 2-8). The design of the Water Cube is based on the random natural creation of soap bubbles that has organic appearance. Two professors of physics at Trinity College, Dublin, partly developed the structure. They proposed a solution of the problem of the shape of soap bubbles that could change in a constant array of bubbles according to the theory of bubbles by  Kelvin.

The China State Construction and Engineering Corporation, the Shenzhen Design Institute and a consortium of Arup, Australian architects PTW, won $100 million in the international competition after a public exhibition in 2003.The findings of professors' paper were used in the design of the “Water Cube” Swimming Centre. The building houses facilities and seating for 17 000 beholders and the pools for the Olympic diving and swimming competitions.

The appearance of the “Water Cube” Swimming Centre is almost chaotic. But actually, there are repetitious steel elements that create the organic bubble effect discovered by Lord Kelvin. The project was made possible owing to the rapid prototyping and latest computer-aided design. To demonstrate the idea of the Water Cube to the judges of the design competition, the Shenzhen Design Institute and a consortium of Arup preferred to use rapid prototyping to physical  model of the complex structure  (Edmondson; 2012, 45-46).

They created a complete 3D structural model and imported it  into Strand7 as a part of their design process. This Strand7 model consisted of 24 000 beam elements that have 12 000 nodes. Testing involved beam loads of the number of 750 000  in 55 basal load cases that estimated 200 combinations.

 The beam loads all were derived from snow and wind pressure. It was applied to external crystal cladding, and thus it was sent to the structural members. The use of Strand7 offers automatic define of the patches of the load over a grid work of the beam elements, the same as a mesh generator, with a help of a specific tool.

The main goal was make the design more effective to be sure in that the weight of the Water Cube building could be minimal without losing strength. The process had to go through 25 cycles to reduce the weight of the building to lOOkg/m³ at the end. All the beam elements that subject to at least subject, were checked at 5 points opposite to 13 dissimilar equations in the structural code of Chinese. All the members and nodes potentially differed, so the considerable optimization process was required. (Pearson; 2008, 1-3)

As the 90km of steel beams assemble into the bubble pattern, the structure fills with foil cushions that provides insulation and helps to create an effect that is called "a greenhouse effect", which means that solar power heats the interior and the pools. All backwash water cleans with filters and returns  to the swimming pools. This will secure one more environmental benefit. (Xue; 2006, 6-8)

Conventional teamwork is less sophisticated than teaming. Projects require process and information complicatedness in numerous fields to a greater extent. Managers rely on specialists of all types to make important decisions and finish the work successfully. That is the reason why prospering teaming always begins with an acceptance of employees of the unidentified and a duty to learn or create new information.  (Binns; 2004, 22-23)

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