More moonlighting from the chaps hits your screens this weekend: Richard is back peeking under the bonnet of global engineering excellence.
Episode one of the third series of Engineering Connections deals with Dubai’s never-knowingly-understated sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, claimed to be the world’s first seven-star hotel and, in our experience, home to one of the world’s greatest bars.
More on what you can expect from episode one right here:
‘It’s the world’s tallest and most distinctively shaped hotel – the 320-metre-high Burj Al Arab, or Arabian Tower. Rising from its own custom-built island, 300 metres off-shore, the sail-shaped building has already become one of the world’s most recognisable buildings, and an icon for Dubai.
‘Constructing the island was the first engineering challenge. Protecting it from two-metre-high waves called for strong sea defences. Richard demonstrates the power of quite small waves by explosively releasing a tonne of water just two metres above a coffee table. His second coffee table relies on a furniture protection system inspired by the Burj’s sea defences. Tyres lashed together create spaces that absorb the destructive energy of the “wave” .
‘Building in the extreme heat of the desert posed construction challenges due to steel expansion. The 85-metre steel trusses forming the hotel’s exoskeleton were fitted together thanks to an ingenious solution inspired by an engine cam – a rotating mechanism which presses down on valves by moving eccentrically – or off-centre. Clever rotating fixings were used, which allowed builders to move the fixing pin off-centre until the two holes married.
‘The Burj Al Arab is a high-tech palace: remote controls operate lights, doors, curtains and climate control. Richard creates his own luxury hotel room, with a sophisticated lighting system, and watches it all go up in flames simply because of what dimmers do to the electrical current. The solution lies in a capacitor – the electrical component used to fire a camera flash.’
‘Finally Richard reveals the secret of the Burj’s extraordinary and unnaturally glassy water fountains – achieved thanks to laminar flow – and a revolutionary fire hose.’
Later in the six-part BBC2 series are closer looks at Formula One, oil super tankers, earthquake-proof bridges, the soon-to-be-retired space shuttle and Japan’s awesome bullet train.
The show starts at 7.10pm on Sunday 8 May – perfect timing as you emerge from your post-Grand Prix snooze. Hope you enjoy it, and let us know as usual what you think in the handy box below…