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Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 09 November, 2004  (Company News)
Visitors to Glasstec 2004 will be the first in the world to see, touch and walk on
It relies on architectural laminated glass incorporating DuPont™ SentryGlas® Plus structural interlayer to deliver safety without sacrificing beauty (Hall 11, Stand H54, University of Fine Arts, Hamburg & Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg).

This is the international premier of Ganzglastreppe (‘pure glass stairs’), the 6-meter prototype of a generic glass and steel stairway that its inventors hope will be snapped up by commercial buyers for use in retail outlets and office building developments worldwide. Its design team, based at the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg and The Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg’s civil engineering faculty, worked with glass laminator Flachglas Wernberg GmbH and Glassline GmbH, a German producer of point fitted support systems and stainless steel components, to develop and build the staircase.

“Aesthetically, the design of Ganzglastreppe may look weightless and gravity-defying, like an architectural ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Yet engineering-wise, the stresses on a drilled, point-fixed glass staircase like this are highly complicated. SentryGlas® Plus made the project possible because it is the only structural interlayer in the world that we know of to provide the necessary additional strength where bending and tear stresses are the dominant stresses,” said Josef Failer, research and development at Flachglas Wernberg.

“Laminated glass incorporating SentryGlas® Plus is used for both the slim, highly-polished stair treads and the elegant balustrades of Ganzglasstreppe. In addition to the interlayer’s structural strength, it creates a very strong bond to the metal fixings used in the stairway’s construction and its high rigidity contributes with other factors to the overall stability and safety of Ganzglastreppe’s patented design.”

Architectural glass containing DuPont™ SentryGlas® Plus has been used for innovative projects, big and small, throughout the world since the introduction of the structural interlayer at the end of the 1990s. Internationally, recent high profile projects have included a flat, self-supporting laminated glass roof the size of a soccer field for Spanish energy giant Endesa in Madrid, Spain (completion: 2003 / architects: Kohn Pedersen Fox / laminator: Rioglas / structural engineers: Bellapart); state-of-the-art, metal-in-glass architectural façade technology for the newly-completed Shanghai Oriental Art Center, China (completion: late 2004 / architects: Paul Andreu / Aeroports de Paris /laminator: SYP) and glass stairways at Apple Computer flagship stores in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, USA (completion: 2003-4; architects: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson / laminator: Depp Glass).

In Germany, Flachglas Wernberg is currently working with design teams to complete two building facades of architectural laminated glass incorporating SentryGlas® Plus; one in Hamburg and one in Cologne.

“DuPont™ SentryGlas® Plus offers five times the tear strength and 100 times the stiffness of traditional interlayers for laminated glass, plus higher clarity, better edge stability and improved weathering performance. This is creating strong demand from architects, building façade engineers and laminators worldwide,” commented Luigi Robbiati, Vice President, DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions.

Respected structural engineer Tim MacFarlane of the London-based structural engineering firm Dewhurst MacFarlane & Partners Ltd. has compared the introduction of SentryGlas® Plus to the invention of reinforced concrete in the 19th century, calling it: “THE engineered glass material of the 21st century.”
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