Aquariums & Specialty glazing
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A transparent pool for tigers

© Advanced Aquarium Technologies

Tigers are excellent swimmers, unlike other big cats. At Tiger Island in Australia, visitors can observe the animals in the water through a huge, curved viewing window made of PLEXIGLAS®.

On land, tigers are majestic and imposing creatures. But the big cats are also at home in the water: They are excellent swimmers and can cross rivers which are several kilometers wide on their search for food. A twelve-meter-long viewing window made of PLEXIGLAS® offers a distortion-free view of the big cats in the Australian theme park Dreamworld.

Watch the predators in water

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.

The visitors have a wonderful view of the tigers behind the PLEXIGLAS® viewing window

© Youtube / Advanced Aquarium Technologies

Experts for large aquariums

“These kinds of large aquariums are our specialty,” says McMurray. The specialists at AAT do not design and built standard aquariums, but instead concentrate on large-scale variants, for which they produce aquarium panels in their own production facilities. In order to make even larger panels possible, AAT has been cooperating with PLEXIGLAS® since early 2017. “The product quality from PLEXIGLAS® impressed us greatly from the very beginning and we continued working with the brand acrylic from Röhm,” says McMurray. “It can be easily glued together, has a higher transparency than other acrylic and, even after a many years, we can be sure that the material will not discolor or detiorate.”

Unbreakable and transparent

To create the viewing window in Tiger Island, the specialists from AAT began by thermally forming three PLEXIGLAS® GS sheets. “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.

Glued seamlessly

For the viewing window, three sheets of PLEXIGLAS® were glued together. The seams are not visible to the visitors.

© Advanced Aquarium Technologies

Large viewing windows

The enormous viewing window made of PLEXIGLAS® is consists of three parts which were shaped and glued together.

© Advanced Aquarium Technologies

Large viewing windows

Before the viewing panel was shipped to Australia, the AAT team polished it in the production facility in Guangzhou, China.

© Advanced Aquarium Technologies

Specialists at work

The AAT specialists carried out the installation of the twelve-meter-long viewing window themselves in order to ensure that it was installed correctly and was waterproof.

© Advanced Aquarium Technologies

Withstanding the water pressure

Since its installation, the window has been subjected to climbing tigers and the pressure of the water. “This is not a problem for PLEXIGLAS®. 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. “PLEXIGLAS® has a higher thermal insulation value than glass, meaning fluctuations in temperature can be reduced,” says McMurray. “Even strong sunshine is not a problem.” PLEXIGLAS® 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. en – einfach spektakulär.

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