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Contractors World UK & Ireland Vol 6 No 1

31

Italy, the pod weighs 106 tonnes with 200 people on

board (90 tonnes without people).

The glass is double glazed and is four panes thick; it

is constructed from two laminated double-curved sheets

glued together with an interlayer and separated by a

sealed air gap between the two separate glass layers,

creating a window assembly that is four layers of glass

thick.

As this form of toughened glass cannot be cut to size,

each piece had to be precisely formed at the start of the

process in order for them to fit together accurately in

layers and then be attached to the steel ‘ribs’ forming

the frame for each superstructure.

Among its other features, the British Airways i360

pod will be heated and air-conditioned, is fully accessible

for wheelchair users, has bench seating for passengers

and will also house the Sky Bar, the most unique bar in

the UK.

The next key project milestone will be when the team

runs test flights for the pod in spring.

Delivering the pod to Brighton

To ease prefabrication and transport, Poma constructed

the pod in 24 floor sectors, 24 glazed superstructure

sectors and 12 inner wall arc sections.

The superstructure sectors consist of double-curved,

double-glazed laminated glass assemblies mounted onto

a light-weight painted mild steel frame. The floor sectors

support a solid floor and house the

air conditioning units, communica-

tion and safety systems.

These systems are concealed

from view by mirrored glass on the

underside of the pod, which will

create convex reflections of the city

and its surroundings for people on

the boarding platform to see as the

pod rises or descends.

Constructing the pod

The floor sectors were installed first,

supported on temporary rods or

hangars. The floor sectors of the

pod are supported by 48 trusses,

one either side of each sector,

which are bolted together and can-

tilevered from the chassis to sup-

port the floor.

The temporary hangars were re-

moved once all of the sectors were

adjusted to be perfectly level and

then bolted together.

Creating the glass

superstructure sectors

The glass central panels are now in

place. Despite the delicate appear-

ance, the superstructure sectors are

incredibly robust, weighing slightly less than the floor

sectors.

This is because the double-glazed glass assemblies

are constructed from two laminated double-curved

sheets glued together with an interlayer and separated

by a sealed air gap between the two separate glass lay-

ers, creating a window assembly that is four layers of

glass thick.

Specialist glass maker Sunglass in Italy, who also

provided the double-curved glass assemblies for the

London Eye capsules (although they are only single

glazed), curved the glass at high temperature using their

own patented bespoke moulds.

The process of heating glass puts the outer surface

into compression and the inner surface into tension,

effectively creating a stronger ‘toughened glass’

material.

As this form of toughened glass cannot be cut to size,

each piece had to be precisely cut to size at the start of

the process in order for them to fit together accurately

in layers and then be attached to the steel ‘ribs’ forming

the frame for each superstructure sector.

Each sector has a rib on each side which matches

perfectly with its neighbour so that two adjoining sectors

can be bolted together.

• [END]

Contractors World UK & Ireland