ClearShield Reaches Dizzy New Heights

The Shanghai World Financial Center (WFC), set to become the world's tallest building, is the latest skyscraper to benefit from Ritec's ClearShield glass surface protection system...

Scheduled for completion in 2008, it will have 101 storeys and be 492m high. The project also represents a new world record for ClearShield, which has been specified for many other high-rise buildings around the world to prevent glass surface degradation during the build programme. ClearShield is being factory-applied to all the Shanghai WFC's exterior glass to protect it before, during and after construction.

Glass destruction during construction is a contractors' nightmare and refers to the damage caused by concrete splatter, cement dust, moisture attack and cleaning materials. Alone, or in combination, these substances will damage the surface, often resulting in the need to replace the glass completely - leading to construction delays and costly financial penalties.

Before Ritec pioneered architectural glass surface protection with its invention of ClearShield back in 1981, the most common solution was to cover glass with plastic sheeting. However, this is not always a practical or reliable option, particularly on tall buildings and in windy conditions. By using ClearShield, glass can be protected during handling, transportation, storage and installation. As a further benefit, on building completion, ClearShield will continue to protect the glass.

Exterior glass in high-rise buildings like the Shanghai WFC is under constant attack from moisture and alkalinity – the two main causes of glass corrosion. Ritec's ClearShield system is water repellent and highly resistant to alkalinity from building run-off and hard tap water. It also proves protection against organic contaminants, such as traffic film, fingerprints, bird droppings and tree sap, and inorganic substances, including metal oxides, mineral salts/limescale, moisture and silicone sealant run-off. In addition, it prevents glass from being stained and discoloured by lead oxides from, for example, roof flashing and from iron oxides from railway lines.

Proven during the past 25 years, ClearShield can be applied to glass either in the factory or onsite. Ritec's proven polymer formulation bonds chemically to the glass, leaving a transparent, non-stick surface.  The result is Low-Mâ (Low-Maintenance) Glass that retains its original clarity and is easy to clean without the need for harsh chemicals.

A mixed-use development by Minoru Mori of Japan, the Shanghai WFC will include offices, a six-star hotel, conference facilities, museum and a variety of leisure and retail units. The architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox, have designed the building in the form or a square prism, used in ancient Chinese culture to represent the earth. In addition to its striking glass façade, one of the skyscraper's most distinctive features is a large hole through its upper levels.

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