Polycarbonate sheets just like new after 13 years

Polycarbonate sheets just like new after 13 years
Since its inauguration in 1958, the lush vegetation and wildlife from Asia and the Americas has made the tropicarium at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany a popular attraction.

Thirteen years ago work to modernise the tropicarium was started by replacing a large portion of the glass roofing and facades with high-quality, multi-wall polycarbonate sheets. This installation was undertaken by a member of the European Polycarbonate Sheet Extruders, who worked in close collaboration with a metal and steel construction company.

For the tropicarium, which houses ferns, cacti, tropical plants, and snakes, the polycarbonate sheets played a large role in the design. At the time the installation of the polycarbonate sheets received a lot of attention due to their unusual length of 11.8 metres. Even today the sheets continue to demonstrate their indestructibility and quality despite enduring extreme conditions for over a decade.

During the renovation only the glass was replaced while most of the sub-structure remained in place, thus saving on costs. The only addition to the structure was a special thermal rung for the multi-wall sheet. When the sheets were installed, their ability to allow in vast quantities of light, low weight and easy processing and handling stood out.

After 13 years more benefits can be added to that list. The weather-resistant sheets have not shown any signs of yellowing and the acidic bird droppings from nesting storks have not affected the material’s life span either. Moreover, the UV qualities of the polycarbonate sheets ensure a consistent temperature and prevent sudden drops in temperature – directly benefitting the cold-blooded reptiles for which a warm environment is crucial to their survival. Unlike with the previous glass roofing and facade installation, the heat-insulating properties of the polycarbonate sheets have been able to prevent colds in reptiles and have also contributed to saving on energy costs.

The renovation of the tropicarium has demonstrated the wide applicability and usability of polycarbonate sheets for both first-time construction and renovations. The temperature resistance of the material ranges from -100°C to 120°C, making it possible to use in any and all weather conditions ranging from tropic to arctic climates.

The low-weight of polycarbonate sheets make them easy to install and their good processability allows them to be easily sawed, drilled, or milled and they feature excellent cold-bending properties.