Trend in Japan Web Japan
Science and Technology
Business and Economy Lifestyle Science and Technology Fashion Arts and Entertainment Sports People
Science & Technology
Japanese Hi-tech Material Used at World Cup (May 22, 2006)

The futuristic stadium (Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.)
When the opening match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup gets underway in Germany, Japanese technology will help fans enjoy the action on the pitch. The Allianz Arena, where the tournament's first game is scheduled to take place, is constructed from panels containing a fluoropolymer film called ETFE foil, which was developed and manufactured by Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. The panels form the stadium's walls and roof. A major advantage of Asahi Glass's foil is that it allows light to pass through it. This is crucial for the stadium's natural grass, which needs sunlight to grow. The other advantage is the foil's lightness and flexibility, making it easy to install in the smoothly curved panels.

During construction (Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.)

Bright Idea
The Allianz Arena, located in Munich, is the home stadium of the German soccer team Bayern Munich, whose famous goalkeeper is Oliver Kahn. When the facility was designed, one of the technical challenges was ensuring the grass pitch was exposed to sunlight for long periods throughout the day. As Munich lies at a high northerly latitude, sunlight often hits the stadium from low angles. One reason Asahi Glass's ETFE foil was chosen as the material for the wall and roof panels was its high transparency, which allows sunrays to come right through the stadium walls and onto the pitch.

In appearance, the film looks semi-transparent and slightly thicker than the clear plastic used for document folders. Yet in fact, the product's transparency exceeds 90%, making it more than 80% more effective in transparency terms than regular glass. What is more, compared to glass the film is lighter and easier to clean, maintain, and install. It has a wide range of applications in other fields, such as electronics, aerospace, kitchen design, and building construction.

The stadium is lit up in red. (Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.)

An Easy Fit
The material was well suited to the Allianz Arena's distinctive design - it is described by some observers as looking like a huge inflatable raft - thanks to the ease with which it can be molded to fit the gently contoured walls and roof. When installed, the film is like a thin plastic underlay for a carpet.

The material is also expected to heighten the fans' appreciation of live soccer. When red, blue, and other colors of light hit the back of the ETFE film, the film's high level of transparency can be used to scatter the light. The effect is to make the white walls appear bright red and blue - the team colors of Bayern Munich - producing a fantastic atmosphere.

 Page Top

Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

Drop Us a Line
Your Name

What did you think of this article?

It was interesting.
It was boring.

Send this article to a friend

Go TopTrends in Japan Home

Go BackScience & Technology Home