Detail of the clock face.
Detail of the clock face.
Under construction.
Under construction.
The finished construction.
The finished construction.

The tower is 607 m high. The top 200 m is clad with over 40 000 m2 of fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) composite panels, including the largest clock faces in the world at 43 m in diameter with 23 m long minute hands.

The cladding of the tower top includes intricate calligraphy and ornamental patterning, finished in glass and ceramic tiles. Illumination of the clock hands, clock faces and media wall is made possible by over 2 million LEDs integrated into the cladding panels.

Gurit worked closely with the tower top designer SL-Rasch, of Stuttgart, Germany, to carry out the structural engineering of the composite cladding, clock hands and the 23 m diameter crescent, a self-supporting composite structure located at the top of the building.

Gurit supplied a range of composite materials to Premier Composites Technologies (PCT) of Dubai, UAE, which carried out the fabrication and installation of the cladding, clock face, clock hands and crescent.

Gurit materials used included a new fire retardant wet laminating system, Ampreg 21FR, which was developed for lamination of the façade. Lamination was carried out on direct CNC cut moulds fabricated using Gurit’s T-Paste tooling paste on a polystyrene blank block. The easy machining, low cure shrinkage and high level of detail achievable with T-Paste is said to have enabled rapid production of accurate direct moulds for the part production.

This has been a fascinating project to work on. It has presented numerous challenges, from the sheer scale and complexity of the project, to the integration of finishes and lighting into the cladding panels.
Dr Mark Hobbs, Senior Engineer, Engineered Structures, Gurit

The clock hands presented a particular challenge due to their long slender geometry and the potential for high wind loading. They were manufactured using Gurit’s WE91-2 carbon fibre prepreg and Corecell T Foam structural core material. Gurit originally developed WE91-2 and Corecell T Foam for use in large wind turbine blades.

Gurit reports that the excellent stiffness to weight ratio of the WE91-2 prepreg, combined with the mechanical properties, toughness and low resin uptake of Corecell structural core, enabled the realisation of a lightweight, stiff clock hand.