Archive for April, 2007

Fabrication and Testing

With the construction due to start early next year, many of the different parts of the station are now being fabricated and tested before being shipped down to Antarctica.

On the mechanical and electrical front, the hydraulic leg construction and testing commenced during March, with the first four legs being produced at the manufacturers works in Halifax. They are due to be shipped to South Africa for fitting to the test module being assembled there.

This picture was taken during one of the leg tests, with the test leg fully extended. For ease of testing the leg was positioned upside down, allowing access to the hydraulic connections that would normally be encased inside the building at the top of the leg.

one of the Hydraulic legs
A hydraulic leg being tested.

The grey casing shown will be mostly concealed inside the building steel work and cladding, and has been treated with a special fireproof coating for structural protection.The white leg section is clad in a fibreglass wrap material, designed to protect against the severe temperature variations that the Brunt Ice Shelf experiences.

All of the hydraulics and control hardware were demonstrated to satisfaction during the visit, with many of the design innovations becoming apparent as the testing and demonstration progressed.

Link | Posted by Simon in Construction on April 24th, 2007

Fire Testing

The detailing of the Halley VI design continues and particularly for the composite panels that will be used to form the shell of the structure. The design and fabrication of these heavily insulated panels is being undertaken in South Africa where recently a series of fire tests were completed.

Fire is an ever present hazard in the Antarctic where humidity is very low. The loss of a structure can have a severe impact, particularly during the winter months when external temperatures are very low and there is no daylight. To alert station personnel if a fire starts in the new Halley VI station, a comprehensive fire detection system is to be installed. This is backed up by a water mist suppression system, which will stop most fires developing and engulfing the station.

To ensure the structure can withstand a fire both inside and outside, fire tests were completed to the standard required by the London Underground, which exceeds the normal British Standard requirements. Testing has been carried out both in South Africa and at the Building Research Establishment in the UK. The tests showed that the structure can withstand a fire lasting for over 30 minutes, which provides enough time to enable the occupants to escape the building safely.

Fire testing in South Africa Fire testing in South Africa
Fire testing in South Africa. Before and after the BRE test.
Link | Posted by Simon in Construction on April 3rd, 2007