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In the construction of stadiums and sports facilities, it is not only the completion on schedule that is of utmost importance, but also the economic efficiency in the construction and operation of the building. Particularly in the area of heating and cooling, there is great potential for savings in energy and maintenance. Whether as sports floor or lawn heating, ice rink, in the sanitary area or in the air conditioning technology: pipe systems from aquatherm offer individual solutions for all requirements and have proven their advantages in objects all over the world. Thanks to our prefabrication, the construction time is shortened and thus cash is saved.

APPLICATION AREAS

TURF HEATING FOR NFL PITCH

REALIZED – EVEN WITH HIGH

STABLE OPERATING TEMPERATURES

 

PROJECT:
TCF Bank Stadium
Turf heating

PRODUCTS:

aquatherm blue pipe

LOCATION/FINISHED:
Minneapolis(MN),USA / 2014

 

The challenge:

In order to provide athletes with optimal conditions even in snow and ice, a turf heating system should be installed in the TCF Bank Stadium that works trouble-free and permanently even at high operating temperatures.

Solution:

aquatherm blue pipe can be used safely in applications from about -20 to 90 degrees Celsius due to the multilayer fibre composite material and is therefore suitable for the special requirements in the TCF Bank Stadium.

AQUATHERM ADVANTAGES

  • Thanks to heat-welded aquatherm products it was possible to do without approx. 4000 mechanical connections.
  • The aquatherm pipe system copes with the required above-average operating temperatures underneath the artificial turf without any problems.
  • The planners appreciated the fact that the aquatherm pipe has a very low oxygen permeability and therefore does not require an oxygen barrier layer. This saves additional costs.

 

TCF BANK STADIUM

Sports stadiums all over the world have the ambition to offer optimal conditions for the athletes. A frozen ground is not one of them. When TCF Bank Stadium was rebuilt to temporarily host the Minnesota Vikings’ NFL games while their new stadium was being built, a turf heating system was supposed to solve that very problem. To protect the football turf from frost and icing, a turf heating system consisting of over 60 kilometres of aquatherm blue pipe filled with a propylene glycol based heat transfer fluid with inhibitors was installed.

While aquatherm piping systems have been used on professional playing fields throughout Europe for decades, this installation marked the debut of the aquatherm brand on a professional field in the United States. Brian Storm, president and CEO of Fields Inc, the company the Vikings had selected to oversee the TCF turf renovations, was working with aquatherm products for the first time. Because of this, local aquatherm representative Mulcahy Company Inc. offered training and support. “Upon closer inspection, we found that this product could meet and exceed some of the unique challenges of this project,” Storm said.

A BOLD PLAY

These challenges included working with the existing subsoil substrate under the artificial turf. Most heated synthetic turf fields have a layer of sand several centimetres thick as a heat transfer base. In the case of TCF Bank Stadium, however, it was between 30 and 45 cm. The many cavities between the sand particles lead to a higher heat loss. Therefore, the individual heating circuits had to be installed closer to the field surface and the operating temperature of the heating medium had to be designed higher than conventional polypropylene or PEX pipes can achieve.

aquatherm blue pipe, on the other hand, can be used safely in applications from about -20 to 90 degrees Celsius (depending on the pressure rating) due to the multi-layer fibre composite material. The higher stability compared to other thermoplastic pipe systems ensures a trouble-free and durable function of the system even at high operating temperatures.

The use of aquatherm products also saved about 4000 mechanical connections, most of which were to be embedded under the pitch. Because aquatherm pipes and fittings do not depend on mechanical connections. Instead, they are permanently welded together by heat fusion. In the process, each welded joint becomes even more stable than the pipe itself after cooling.

LEAVING IT ALL ON THE FIELD

Stable connections are particularly important when glycol-based heat transfer fluids are used, as the addition of glycol to water lowers the surface tension, increasing the likelihood of leaks. With aquatherm blue pipe the installers were able to transform several hundred pipe sections and thousands of fittings and manifolds into a seamless and durable pipe network.

Harris Mechanical was responsible for the installation of the piping. Despite the fact that no one from the company had ever worked with aquatherm products before, the team managed to install the entire pipe system within a few weeks after less than a day of practical instruction and passed the first official pressure test without a single leak. Justin Knopps, project manager for Harris Mechanical, liked the fact that the aquatherm pipe has a very low oxygen permeability and therefore does not require an oxygen barrier, which adds cost.

BRINGING THE HEAT

Given the tight schedule and overall complexity of the project, it was a great labor saver for the installers to be able to stick with one material for the entire system. Conventional thermoplastic systems are not universally available in all dimensions and would have required different types of joints between pipe materials. Knopps explained that these different connections between pipe materials were always going to be a problem for Harris Mechanical.

Several shell and tube heat exchangers, located in the adjacent heating center, serve as the heat source for the field. Over 26,000 litres of propylene-glycol mixture are pumped through the heat exchanger pipes, the supply lines and the individual heating circuits. The heat exchangers were designed to be 100% redundant, which means that even in the event of a total failure of the system, the reserve heat exchangers can cover the entire line required – because there must be no failures on match days.

Not only underneath the grass field, but also in the heating centre aquatherm blue pipe was used.

The supply and return lines are located at the edge of the field.

To protect the football turf from frost and icing, a turf heating system consisting of over 60 kilometres of aquatherm blue pipe was installed.

Upon closer inspection, we found that this product [von aquatherm] could meet and exceed some of the unique challenges of this project”

Brian Storm, president and CEO of Fields Inc.

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