UQ Gatton Fabric Cooling Tower
Location: UQ Gatton Campus
Completion Date: 2014
Size: 510 sqm
Fabric: PVC - Mehler M7205
Client: University of Queensland
The UQ Gatton Fabric Cooling Tower project is a unique 510sqm PVC fabric tower. The 20m enclosed cylinder-shaped “cooling tower” structure was designed as part of a university research project.
This purpose of the structure was to form a natural dry-draft cooling tower. The hybrid cooling tower technology at The University of Queensland’s Gatton campus allows for the study and development of new methods to reduce water consumption in thermal power generation.
The innovative use of tensile fabric for the walls of the tower helped to create a lightweight structure, designed to be easy to transport and install in remote locations. The project itself is unique and formed part of an innovative research project – a portable cooling tower that recycled the water it used. Something never done before.
From the design and installation of the membrane point of view, the project was quite complex, as the UQ research team requested a closed/complete cylinder-shaped structure which is not the norm for the tensile membrane structures.
Normal fabrication practices called for welding panels together with a welded or sewn edge around the perimeter. However, this enclosed tube-like structure provided a challenge to weld the final seem in order to form the closed structure. To achieve these requirements, the install team turned the fabric inside out and were able to site-weld the ends together, while carefully guiding the rope edge through at the top and base of the structure.