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Wed September 18 2019

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Antarctic ‘eco tent’ holds promise for Scottish building design

19 Feb Research to create an ‘extreme eco tent’ that is set to be tested in Antarctica could also influence the future design of buildings in Scotland, according to Heriot-Watt University.

The eco tent will be tested in Antarctica
The eco tent will be tested in Antarctica

The tent made from experimental eco-materials has been taken to one of the harshest climates in the world to test its endurance. Space blanket materials, recycled yacht sails and plastic bottles have been used in the tent, which will be tested in the extreme temperatures – and 200mph biting winds – of Antarctica. Detailed measurements will be taken and the structure will be monitored for 12 months.

Heriot-Watt emeritus professor, Sue Roaf has been working with the universities of Lisbon and Bahrain on the Polar Lodge project and is currently on site in the area of the South Pole with ProPolar expeditionary teams. “We have taken the best of the traditional wisdom of an Asian yurt, then optimised its form with racing-yacht hull design modelling and experimented with some amazing new materials to lighten the tent and significantly improve its performance,” she said. “This is exciting research that could impact even the design of buildings around us in Scotland.”

The traditional yurt-style tent is lined with space blankets with an outer weather skin of Dyneema made from re-cycled racing yacht sails. The thermal flooring is of cork and plastic bottle carpets and underlays from WeaverGreen with solar lighting inside.

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It has been designed to be very light to carry, easy to erect and to keep occupants thermally safe in extreme conditions during temporary research projects and expeditions. It can also be used as an emergency shelter in extremely cold regions of the world, said the research team.

The academics hope their research will inform a new generation of resilient tents and buildings in extreme climates.

They will next tackle the development of a Desert Lodge to be tested in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia.

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MPU

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