Wednesday, October 1, 2008

News: Rotherham designers out in the cold


Researchers at the British Antarctic Survey will be thanking Rotherham designers as they carry out research in some of the harshest conditions on earth. M G Bennett and Associates Ltd were responsible for the detailed design of the hydraulic leg jacking system for the new Antarctic research station, Halley VI. The legs have been designed to resist the harsh Antarctic environment including temperatures as low as –50°C, as well as the high structural and wind loads that they will experience. Maintaining a station on an ice shelf presents a number of challenges. The main problems are the build up of wind blown snow over time, as well as the gradual flow of the ice out to sea. The new design will mean that Halley VI can be moved vertically and even relocated. Once a year, the legs can be lifted up and snow piled underneath the foot to be able to raise the level of the entire station. The legs are also mounted on skis so that in the future it will be possible to pull individual modules to a new location on the ice shelf and re-assemble them into a station. The modules are permanently sitting on the hydraulic cylinders which meant that specialist hydraulic valves, as well as a continuous monitoring system, were developed. All of the Rotherham designed legs have now been manufactured, shipped to Antarctica and fitted to the module frames. It is anticipated the station will be completed in 2011.


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