The reveal of Dreamworld’s new Tiger Island has been much anticipated and is now open for public viewing. The focal point of this spectacular exhibit is the curved, 12 meter, bonded acrylic pool window. Acrylic was the best material of choice to create the expansive view of the pool where the tigers spend much of their time with their handlers.
What made PLEXIGLAS® acrylic the best product for this application?
It’s ability to be bonded to form a continuous 12 m length.
What is acrylic bonding?
Acrylic bonding is the process of joining multiple smaller panels to achieve a high strength union and seamless finish. The process involves several stages which are only undertaken by skilled acrylic technicians with a background in both chemistry and manufacturing processes.
- The acrylic is measured and then each panel is cut to size on a large CNC machine.
- The bond surfaces are prepped and appropriate areas roughened to allow the cross-linking between the MMA molecules.
- A technician mechanically lifts each panel and places it on an appropriate steel frame.
- The acrylic is levelled, aligned and set with a 2mm to 3mm gap between the panels.
- A casing is fixed over all sides of the gap creating a barrier around the panels.
- The MMA bond material components are combined, aerated and then carefully poured into the gap.
- Once filled the panel is cured through a temperature controlled oven run to ensure maximum strength is achieved.
- Shortly after curing the panel it is put through another temperature controlled oven run to anneal the bond. Annealing helps to ensure that full cross-linking has occurred and reduces stresses in the panel.
- The casing is removed and the bonded panel is lifted out of the steel frame in preparation for buffing and polishing.
After the final round of polishing the bond the result is truly outstanding. As you can see the bond is only noticeable when looking directly front on. From a slight angle the panels looks seamless and the bond is barely visible.
When it comes to producing large windows and immersive experiences, acrylic bonding is what makes giant panels possible. AAT use bonding to achieve sizes that exceed the standard cast sheet sizes whilst maintaining high strength and optimal clarity.