Qatar uses 3D printers to make World Cup stadiums 'desert-proof'

Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:07am EDT
 
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By Tom Finn

DOHA (Reuters) - Scientists at Qatar University are testing 3D-printed models of football stadiums that Qatar is building for the 2022 World Cup to see if they can endure the Gulf state's punishing desert climate.

Qatar has sought to allay concerns about its summer heat and moved the competition to the cooler month of November. It also announced details of five stadiums with built-in air conditioning.

But Qatar still experiences sand and dust storms in winter months. It also wants the stadiums to be used all year round beyond the 2022 tournament, Saud Ghani, a Qatar University engineering professor, said.

For this, the team from Europe and the Middle East are exploring how the stadiums can be adapted to handle sand storms and searing heat.

"We're looking at aerodynamics, how changing the shape of the stadium affects the dust, heat and wind inside," Ghani said.

"Qatar wants venues that can be used all year. They don't want white elephants," he said.

The 3D-printed stadiums, which take about a month to assemble, are placed in a wind tunnel that blows smoke-filled air tracked by laser beams across the design to measure turbulence inside.

The impact of sand storms, which occur occasionally in Qatar during the winter months, could be mitigated by raising or lowering the stadium height by a few meters, Ghani said.   Continued...

 
Mechanical engineers Abdullah Mojeb Aldar (L), 26, and Fahad al-Musalam, 24, move a 3d-printed model of QatarÕs Al Bayt stadium, which will host a World Cup semi-final in 2022, at a laboratory at Qatar University in Doha, Qatar June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari