Dreamworld Australian theme park
Twelve-meter-long, curved viewing window made of ACRYLITE® Cast block
When visitors to the Dreamworld theme park in Australia visit Tiger Island, their view is immediately drawn to a pool with a huge, curved aquarium panel. This may astonish some people who want to observe the large predators. After all, cats typically do not like water. However, tigers and jaguars are exceptions to this rule. You could even go as far as to say that tigers like water.
“Once the animals, which weigh up to 140 kilograms and are up to two meters long, start swimming, the visitors quickly forget about the aquarium panel which separates them from the tigers,” advises Michael McMurray, Acrylics Manager at Advanced Aquarium Technologies (AAT), the company which manufactured the viewing window. “The quality of a good aquarium can be measured by whether it provides an optimal view of what’s inside.” Here, the public can observe the 14 tigers and stay totally captivated while the keepers explain a little about the endangered animals.
To create the viewing window in Tiger Island, the specialists from AAT began by thermally forming three ACRYLITE® cast blocks. “The panel has to be curved so that the visitors can watch the tigers from as many angles as possible,” says McMurray. Afterwards, the three blocks were glued at the edges, so that a twelve-meter-long viewing window was created. “This is a really complex chemical process,” explains McMurray. Firstly, the glued joints must be pretreated in a particular manner. Then the parts are attached with a polymerization adhesive, a process similar to cold welding. The downstream temperature treatment then further increases the strength of the seam and its weathering stability. “This is how we achieve a very high stability of the viewing window,” says McMurray.
Since its installation, the window has been subjected to climbing tigers and the pressure of the water. “This is not a problem for ACRYLITE®. It has impressive and long-lasting stability and is much more durable than glass,” explains McMurray. Even the sometimes harsh Australian climate does not present any problems. “ACRYLITE® has a higher thermal insulation value than glass, meaning fluctuations in temperature can be reduced,” says McMurray. “Even strong sunshine is not a problem.” ACRYLITE® does not yellow and retains its unparalleled optical clarity. The tigers in the water can be seen as they really are, distortion-free and unclouded, in the right colors and proportions – simply spectacular.