China’s Record Breaking Cube Oceanarium Now Open – Features State-of-the-Art Acrylic by Reynolds Polymer Technology

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China's Chengdu Seaside City Shopping Mall is now home to the Cube Aquarium, which opened on New Year’s Day 2015. RPT manufactured several custom acrylic panels for the attraction, two of which feature the revolutionary Signature Bond™.

The Signature Bond™ is relatively invisible.

What we have done here, for the first time on a project this size, is to bond two water-retaining panels together seamlessly.

Inside the world’s largest free-standing building, Chengdu’s fantastical Century Global Center, one can visit the beach, climb aboard a pirate ship, and—thanks to R-Cast® acrylic—enjoy a flawless panorama into the depths of the ocean. Cube Aquarium, located inside the massive shopping complex, opened its doors to the public on New Year’s Day 2015. Some 10,000 different species of marine life are the star attraction for hundreds of thousands of human visitors. In total, Reynolds Polymer Technology provided over 144 metric tons of R-Cast® acrylic to the attraction, which is quickly being recognized as one of the most remarkable aquariums in the world.

Two of the R-Cast® panels at Chengdu feature the Signature Bond™ - an advanced acrylic technology that is being showcased for the first time at the Cube Aquarium. Standard bonds, however minute, are at times detectable as a fine line under specific lighting conditions. RPT’s Signature Bond™, however, is truly imperceptible by the eye. This feature is made possible via the proprietary, monolithic formula of R-Cast®. Laminated acrylic panels, those that are composed of several thinner panels that are glued together, do not allow for the fine edges or clarity needed for the Signature Bond™.

Each Signature Bond™ panel at Cube Aquarium is 7.3 meters high, 5 meters long, and tilted at a 10° angle. Though the acrylic involved in each case weighs 11 metric tons, the 38-cm-thick bonds are simply undetectable from common viewing angles. This feat of fusing two giant objects (each panel section is two and a half stories tall and weighs as much as six cars) together in complete harmony will leave a benchmark for the industry.

“What we have done here, for the first time on a project this size, is to bond two water-retaining panels together seamlessly. This is revolutionary. We already have enquiries from facility owners and curators who want to offer views without any trace of bond lines,” said Matt Houlihan, Executive Vice President of RPT. “Why is this so important? Because their guests want to feel as though they are under water and truly immersed in the exhibit. A bond line in the wrong location ruins this illusion.”

Other panels constructed for Chengdu include a lengthy R-Cast® tunnel that had to be bonded out of four sections. In total, the tunnel offers visitors a viewing area that is nearly 3 meters high and 36 meters long. In a separate exhibit, Reynolds provided a custom-cast, six meter long panel with a 175° bend, allowing for a variety of observation angles that are not possible with a flat panel.

“This was a remarkable project. I am pleased that we have completed yet another successful oceanarium in China,” said Michael Wong, Sales Director for the Asia-Pacific region. “Asia will continue to see growth in the entertainment and attractions industries. RPT is going to play a large part in this future.”

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