Friday, 14 October 2016

Here's Why Cage Divers Don't Become Shark Bait

In reality, a shark cage's strength is just a precaution. Sharks tend to bite things that look like they'd taste good. They almost never bite a shiny metal box. But when it happens — say, with a curious young shark — it's something the person inside the cage never forgets.

"You see them bite it on Shark Week because the guys are putting the fish right at the bars," Moskito says (James Moskito and his partners founded Great White Adventures 17 years ago). "What we see is that a shark might bite a cage once, when they first encounter one, but they immediately realise they don't like the taste. You can almost see it in their expression, like, 'Okay, that tastes terrible.' And you'll never see that shark bite it again."

Advancements in metalworking technology have made stainless steel an option for Great White Adventures, especially for extremely specialised and complicated cages. Last year, Great White Adventures introduced it's first stainless steel cage, a self-propelled two-man contraption that looks like the skeleton of a tiny submarine and has four motors that propel the cage at speeds up to 5 knots. It can turn, spin, and dive up to 150 feet on a cable.

"We got tired of waiting for the sharks to come to us," Moskito jokes. "It's the most unique cage ever built." It also cost $100,000, and as of now, is only available for film crews. If permits come through, certain tourists might (might) get a crack at it later this year, starting in Mexico.

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Friday, 7 October 2016

Stainless Steel morphing lights in V&A’s Tapestry gallery

London Design Festival 2016: 50,000 Stainless Steel triangles make up British designer Benjamin Hubert's undulating Foil installation, which casts light onto the V&A's medieval tapestries (+ movie). Created through his studio 'Layer', Foil is a 20-metre-long kinetic sculpture running down the London museum's elongated tapestry room. Tiny triangles of stainless steel cover the structure, which was created with support from Braun and takes inspiration from the German manufacturer's electric razors.

"We wanted to take some of that super-German engineering, and some of the things people overlook in shavers and products like that and turn up the volume on it, turn up the scale," Hubert told Dezeen. "Ultimately we wanted to turn it into something that wasn't about the product, it was about the experience." Hubert describes the overall effect as "a little bit like taking a disco ball, peeling it like an orange, laying it out flat and rippling it". However, Foil also creates an immersive, meditative environment that inspires visitors to the room to linger, slow down and lower their voices to a hush.

Layer's choice of space – Room 94 – is the only one in the V&A that's entirely climate controlled, so that light, humidity and temperature do not damage the medieval tapestries hanging on the walls. It means the room has a noticeably different atmosphere to the rest of the museum. This is enhanced by the Foil installation, which reflects dappled light from a tailored LED lighting system onto the darkened walls. Foil moves in a smooth rippling motion created by the movement of 200 legs branching off a central axle. A motor at one end powers the installation. The whole contraption is covered in a strip of latex dotted with 50,000 mirror-finished stainless steel triangles.

Benjamin Hubert fills V&A's medieval tapestry room with rippling light installation. It means the room has a noticeably different atmosphere to the rest of the museum. This is enhanced by the Foil installation, which reflects dappled light from a tailored LED lighting system onto the darkened walls.

Foil will stay at the V&A for the duration of the London Design Festival, which takes place from 17 to 25 September 2016.

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All images © Ed Reeve

Friday, 30 September 2016

Stainless Steel Buildings Combat Climate Change

Since the chromium oxide layer that naturally develops on the surface of stainless steel is thin and invisible is a near-perfect solar and thermal reflector. This translates to both and energy savings (see The Insulation Value of Stainless Steel) in hot as well as cold climates, and a reduction in the heat island effect, therefore mitigating climate change. A basic understanding of the Thermal and Solar Reflectance of Stainless Steel can be gained on this website.

In the battle to reduce the effect urban environments have on climate change, stainless steel promises an extraordinary contribution as more buildings are built with this material. Since a stainless steel surface is very efficient in reflecting beams of solar radiation without converting their wavelengths, the vast majority of this light energy will shoot back into space without remaining present in the Earth's atmosphere. A stainless steel roof, for example, is even more efficient at achieving this result than a grass covered field of the same size. Should we advance to the point that cities contain a significant coverage area of stainless steel roofs, society can offset the effect of its necessity to burn fossil fuels. While we embrace the idea of continued research in all fields of study regarding climate change, stainless steel can make a massive contribution to the cause at a much lower economic cost than alternative energy methods as they are currently practiced.

Solar Energy, Global Warming, Heat Islands, Cool Roofs & SRI
The greatest environmental concern of this century is global warming. The physics of the topic is really quite simple, but the politicization of the problem has led many to try to make it obscure. Many stand to gain or lose depending on which solutions to the problem are taken. So there is some obscuring of the comparative value of solutions and this has crept into architecture.

Let’s look at the physics first. The sun’s radiant energy is the uncontrollable given in the problem. The radiation has peak energy of roughly 1375 watts per square meter which strikes the earth’s atmosphere. It doesn’t all reach the earth’s surface. It is diminished by absorption and reflection. The atmosphere, and principally clouds, reflects 25% back into space. The atmosphere absorbs another 23%. This absorption is selective with ozone strongly absorbing ultra-violet wavelengths, and carbon dioxide and water strongly absorbing infrared wavelengths. This leaves just 52% to hit the earth’s surface. Of this amount 90% is absorbed and 10% is reflected back to space. The amount of energy per unit area hitting the earth’s surface is called irradiance, and for the US the monthly average is 4-6 kWh/day/ square meter or about 200 watts/m2.

When solar energy is reflected the wavelengths do not change, so the radiation which is reflected goes right through the atmosphere to space since it consists of wavelengths that are less affected by atmospheric absorption. The absorbed energy heats the earth’s surface. The re-radiation of this heat is at infrared wavelengths. When it radiates from the earth toward space it is almost entirely absorbed by the greenhouse gasses, water and carbon dioxide. To the extent the concentration of these gasses increases, the earth’s heat has a harder time escaping and the surface temperature must rise to compensate. This is global warming. This is the problem.

What is the solution? There are several. We can’t change the sun’s radiation so we have generally chosen to try to manipulate the level of the one significant and controllable green house gas, which is carbon dioxide. The by now obvious ways to do that are to decrease our use of carbon intensive fuels, starting with coal. Each kilowatt hour of energy we generate from wind, hydro, nuclear or hydro means a kilogram of coal not burned and therefore 3.8 kilograms of carbon dioxide not released. This would require, however, the investment of a huge amount of money in these alternative energy sources, the cheapest of which incrementally is wind power at $3000 per kilowatt. That’s one solution.

Another solution is sending more energy back into space by absorbing less at the earth’s surface. The earth doesn’t care how we cool it. The earth’s surface has about the average reflectivity of asphalt parking lot or a black rubber roof, i.e., 85 to 90% absorption. When we replace grass (75% absorption) with an asphalt parking lot or road we double the energy absorbed. When we use a stainless steel roof instead of a black one we decrease the solar energy absorbed from 225 watts per square meter to 25 watts per square meter. Avoiding warming by absorption of solar radiation, or conversely expressed, the blockage of the exit of earth’s radiation are equivalent. Global warming has been calculated by NASA to be the result of 0.6 watt/m2 excess solar energy, arising from 120 ppm excess carbon dioxide over climate-equilibrium levels. One kilowatt of energy from the sun reflected into space decreases global warming the same as replacing one kWh of fossil fuel burning with wind power. This amount of power requires burning one kg of coal and generates 3.7 kg of CO2. This is not obvious but the excess CO2 of 60 ppm over pre-industrial levels is that which would be generated from 1.5 TW of energy by fossil fuel. This approximates the amount of electricity consumed in the world in the last 100 years, as it should. Replacing carbon is obviously needed, but is it alone enough?

Replacing 10% of our world’s electricity generation with wind power, which is the most competitive non-fossil energy source, except for nuclear, which has been politically excluded in certain parts of the world, requires 2,000,000 MW of new wind farm capacity per year. This is about ten times the total windmill capacity now existing. Clearly this is not a short term solution. It is not clear if it is an affordable solution. At $3/watt capital cost, this requires $3 trillion per year and the total world GDP is only $60 trillion. We need to do more than invest in alternative energy sources, because we can’t afford that solution alone.

Reflecting solar radiation is a viable complement to alternative energy sources. We need to build new buildings. Let’s make them part of the solution. Let’s make them more energy efficient. We are already doing that from the aspect of energy consumption. We are just beginning to understand the energy savings potential of stainless steel (see The Insulation Value of Stainless Steel). However, the astounding passive reflection of stainless steel is a powerful tool against global warming.
Buildings are the most significant place where architects can alter global warming. A black roof has a 10% reflectance. A new white roof or a reflective metal has a 90% reflectance. Shingles and dark colors are bad. Incidentally and unfortunately, this is where “Cool Roofs” have misled to a degree. Cool Roofs were conceived to combat the heat island effect. This is “neighborhood heating” occurring because of the use of highly solar energy absorbing materials for roofs, e.g. black rubber, tar, dark shingles, dark painted or galvanized steel and aluminum. These materials absorb solar radiation, become hot and transfer it to the local environment by convection. Some have contended that the best solution to this problem is to manipulate the emissivity of the roofing materials so that they transfer more heat by radiation compared to convection to keep the surface air cooler. The problem with that is that such infrared radiation doesn’t go far. It just dumps into the greenhouse gas cycle and stays in the local atmosphere. It simply spreads the heating into a larger neighborhood.
The accepted measure of solar reflectance quality of a roofing material is SRI, solar reflectance index. It differs very little from ordinary reflectance. Because of the preceding analysis on “Cool Roofs” SRI placed too much value on emissivity, whereas pure solar reflectance is probably a better criterion. Nonetheless the SRI formula is dominated by the solar reflectance factor, so it does no harm. The simple fact is that the less energy absorbed by a roof, and therefore the more reflected, represents the value of the material to global warming, as well as the local environment. Reflected solar radiation escapes to space. Absorbed solar radiation causes global warming. Reflected solar energy reduces global warming.

Architects can change the world by making better choices in surfaces, and these choices are much less expensive than alternative energy.

Sustainability of Surfaces
We have shown that stainless steel and other high reflectance, low emissivity materials, have surface properties which repel solar warming of both the structure they cover and the world itself. In addition, by virtue of the same surface properties they minimize energy losses to and from the structure by acting as a radiant barrier. This is a level of perfection for which it is difficult to find comparison. They prevent global warming and heat islands, while minimizing energy usage. How can one improve on that?

Durability of Surfaces
Arguably the most obvious benefit of stainless steel among the numerous high SRI products for building exteriors is its imperviousness to the environment. The great enemy of metals is corrosion. The metals historically which resist corrosion are the most prized: gold, silver and platinum. With rare exceptions these are not affordable building materials. When aluminum was first popularized it had great promise, but its corrosion resistance is inadequate for architecture without coatings. The same is true for steel, zinc and copper which corrode readily, but their corroded appearances find some admirers. Lead is used for the same reason despite its being toxic, weak and dense. Only stainless steel and titanium are both resistant to corrosion in any environment in which humans can live. They thus stand out as the two viable bare metals which can keep their initial surface qualities indefinitely.

Why is corrosion resistance so important? When metals oxidize, i.e. corrode, their surfaces take on the physical properties of the oxide. Oxides have low reflectance and high emissivity. Thus, as metals corrode, their initial superior performance, in terms of SRI, degrades. This can happen quickly. Steel rusts in hours, copper oxidizes in days, aluminum in months. The first stainless steel used in buildings has been there for nearly 100 years with no sign of degradation. Non-metallic materials have their own problems with aging. Coatings are organic chemicals. They are degraded by light (UV, primarily), temperature, abrasion, and chemicals in the environment. These are aggregated in the term weathering. When materials weather, their SRI and appearances change, and not for the better. That is the reason initial SRI values must be accompanied by field tested SRI values after at least three years of weathering.

SRI weathering data have been published on over 1400 commercial coatings. Selected results are in the table below.

 Material Initial SRI 3 year SRI
#209 white paint 103 102
#418 white paint 111 105
#425 white paint 109 101
#981 white paint 117 110
#982 white paint 108 102
304 stainless InvariMatte 112 112


The aged stainless data point is not three year weathering; it is 10 year, taken from the 140,000 square meter roof of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. It is clear that even the very best coatings degrade, by an average of 5% over three years. There is no reason to expect that to decelerate. Thus, for a building with a 30 year lifespan a degradation of 50% cannot be ruled out; indeed it should be expected for coatings. Stainless steel changes only as much as the dirt that lands on it and isn’t removed by wind and rain.

The insulation savings of high SRI materials can’t be justifiably credited to a material which only saves insulation initially, so an architect must be wary of judging materials.

All the Same?
Are all stainless steels the same? No. There are many types of stainless steel based on chemical composition and then there are many surface finishes for each. Both of these factors determine the corrosion resistance and the resistance to soiling in service. The most common stainless steel for architecture is type 304. It fully resists corrosion in non-marine climates. In marine climates, 316, which has 2% molybdenum, an expensive ingredient, is used. In even more severe environments 2003 or 2205 may be used. These latter two have more molybdenum and are harder to form into shapes, but have been used successfully in roofs in the extremely inhospitable climate of the Arabian Peninsula. The selection of the correct stainless is important but not difficult for the many available expert sources.

The effect of surface finish is more subtle. Stainless steel is heat-treated to achieve the desired mechanical and physical properties at the manufacturer. After this step the oxide scale from heating must be removed by very strong acids (i.e. pickling), which also dissolve the surface layer removing any places in which the corrosion resistance is lower, which could lead to pitting corrosion and perforation in service. As long as the surface is not removed this corrosion resistance is intact.
Unfortunately, some stainless is abraded after it is manufactured into sheet. This surface finish dates back to the 1930’s when it was the only way to make a quasi-uniform finish on stainless steel, since the as-pickled surface is mottled. It tears away the surface. Because it is not subsequently pickled, the corrosion resistance is harmed. The magnitude of this loss is approximately equal to the difference between 304 and 316. This is pretty significant, so it is prudent to not use abraded stainless steel for exteriors of structures.

What’s the alternative? 
There are some very good ones. Any abraded surface finish can be replicated by rolling the surface with textured rolls. This avoids surface removal and loss of corrosion resistance. Architecturally, a possibly greater benefit is that the surface finish is extremely uniform and reproducible. This is never the case with abrasively-made finishes which continually vary with degradation of the abrasive media.

These rolled textured finishes can replicate abraded or shot blasted finishes without the surface damage, and they can decrease the glare or gloss from a surface without diminishing the reflectance or increasing the emissivity significantly.

Staying Clean
Among the high SRI finishes the ability to stay clean varies a lot. Coatings are organic; so, is most dirt. The polarity of organic molecules attracts other polar molecules. Metals have no polarity because of their dispersed electron cloud bonding. This eliminates one type of soiling for metals and accounts for some of the differences from coatings in terms of soiling.
The second factor is mechanical damage. Metals are much, much harder than any organic coating so particles of dirt cannot embed in stainless when driven by wind and rain.
The last factor is trapping. This is controlled by surface configuration on a micro scale. Most coatings are quite smooth, at least initially, so in this regard they are okay.

The roof is often the highest maintenance item on a building, especially as it ages. One of the great, unanticipated benefits of the stainless roof on the David L. Lawrence Convention center in Pittsburgh (DLCC) is that it has required absolutely no maintenance in its lifetime. It probably never will. This building just received a Platinum award from LEED® for maintenance and operations. Its management is happy that the roof has never been a source of difficulty. Interestingly, the same 304 stainless with an abraded finish on exterior wall panels has soiled sufficiently that expensive hand cleaning was required for the hosting of the G20 meetings there several years ago.

A Case Study, Pittsburgh
The DLCC is a building highly praised for its green qualities and initially received a Gold LEED certification. It is however a greater contributor to the environment than it was even intended to be. The 140,000 square meter roof is made of type 304 stainless steel which despite having a low gloss appearance is highly reflective of solar radiation. It reflects 90% of solar radiation into space versus 15% were it the average for US cities. This avoids 190 w/m2 of solar energy and its global warming effect.

One watt of electricity generated by burning coal causes much more, about 25 times more, global warming than one watt absorbed from the sun, because of the persistent effect of carbon dioxide in holding in radiant energy, but even so the reflection of 2.5 megawatts by the DLCC roof provides the same benefits to global warming as a 5000 square meter solar panel array, which would generate 165 kW. An array of that size would cost over $3 million. This is considerably more than the premium paid for the stainless roof, suggesting that public policy does not correctly recognize contributions made by this type of endeavor. It should be rewarded with a tax benefit equal to that enjoyed by other alternative energy efforts.

However, the roof of the DLCC was not intended to be central to its green design. It was specified for energy and maintenance saving. The serendipity of it is that little was known of the exceptional reflectivity of stainless steel when it was designed. It was a risk taken and rewarded. It’s SRI has not measurably changed in ten years and it has required zero maintenance. Because it is stainless steel its life will exceed 100 years.

A New Idea of Green
So, for architects and civic planners, a new concept of green design must take hold. It is not just the energy we conserve by good design. It is the energy we contribute to the earth’s energy balance. SRI must be incorporated into all urban considerations, from parking lots to roofs. The contribution to the solution of this global problem is too great to ignore. Unfortunately, Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, received yawns when he proposed just this in 2009. To some environmentalists, attacking global warming by means other than CO2 reduction is politically incorrect. However, the problem cannot be solved quickly or economically without the use of more reflective building materials. We already have an effective global warming solution; build with stainless steel.

We hope it is clear to the reader that stainless steel-clad buildings not only save energy, but significantly reduce the heat island effect. We are hopeful that we can encourage further study in these areas. Should you have questions or comments regarding our work, we would be pleased to hear from you.

Primary Author: Michael F. McGuire, PHD Metallurgical Engineering

Frederic J. Deuschle, BS Metallurgy & Materials Engineering

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Monday, 26 September 2016

Stainless Steel & the mission to make meat obsolete.

The start-up behind the food invention, Impossible Foods, has raised $182 million in equity since launching in 2012. It has been reported that Google attempted to buy the company, offering between $200 million and $300 million. Among its high-profile investors is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

"Making meat a better way" is how Stanford University biologist and physician Patrick Brown describes his Impossible Burger.

The founder and CEO of California-based start-up Impossible Foods expounded on the benefits and the complex process of recreating the experience of meat using only plant-based ingredients.

 "Our challenge was to make a product that would appeal to the hardcore meat lover," Brown told CNBC's "Squawk Box" in a March 2015 interview. "We wanted to have a product that would deliver all the pleasures that people get from eating meat without any of the baggage; no cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, [or] E. coli."

On his personal blog, Gates expressed concern about providing meat to what's expected to be 9 billion people by 2050. "We can't ask everyone to become vegetarians. That's why we need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources," he wrote in March of 2015.

That's a sentiment shared by Brown, who said animal farming "is the single biggest environmental threat in the world today," given the enormous amounts of land and water needed.

He hopes one day to replace all products that use animal farming.

"Figuring it out was hard; making it actually was a relatively simple process," Brown said. "We use simple ingredients from plants that you could pretty much find in your local supermarket."

"We deliberately select out very specific proteins from plants — this is something that hasn't really been done before for food — that have the exact properties we need," he added.

Brown and his team examined animal products at the molecular level, then selected specific proteins and nutrients from greens, seeds, and grains to recreate the taste and texture of meat and dairy products. Brown's central innovation was using a plant-based molecule called "heme" to recreate something resembling cow blood; he's touted it as the "secret sauce" to the taste of his veggie burgers.

"..It’s in every living cell on Earth — it’s not meat-specific by a long shot. But it’s the compound in your blood that carries oxygen, it’s what makes your blood red, it’s what gives it its high iron content, and it’s super abundant in the animal tissues that we call meat. Which is why red meat is red and white meat is pink — because it’s got a lot of heme. Like I said, plants have heme, bacteria have heme, yeast have heme, but meat has insanely high concentrations of heme. …"

Impossible Foods has invented a yeast that makes plant blood.

Inside the Impossible Foods pilot plant, 24 hours a day, five days a week, Stainless Steel fermentation tanks filled with this proprietary yeast crank out bright-red heme.

The plant-based "Impossible Burger" that has the tech world talking was finally made available at the New York restaurant - Momofuku Nishi.

Several staffers had the meatless burger for lunch and gave their verdict. Most thought it was delicious and could pass for real meat, while some others said the texture and taste didn't quite compare to the real thing.

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Photos: McNair Evans

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Stainless Steel helping to explore the surface of Mars

The robust drill on the robot arm of the Mars Rover Curiosity helps scoop rock dust on Mars – a milestone for researchers. A friction spring made of Stainless Steel dampens the forces generated during the drilling process and prevents any resonance phenomena.

Space is calling. Infinite vastness – and almost infinite opportunities to test innovative technology in border areas. During each space mission, neighbouring planets, moons and even destinations outside of our solar system are being explored – and, at the same time, components and systems are tested under extremely severe conditions. These components and systems are often specifically developed for this purpose.

Percussion drill in vacuum

Durability was also a must for the tools on board the Curiosity which weighs almost one ton: two cameras, spectrometer, a powerful laser, a telescope and a drill. On earth, they had drilled more than 1200 holes into the most diverse kinds of rock by using eight different percussion drills, because on Mars, it simply had to work perfectly. For the first time, a research robot was to drill into stone in a place other than the earth. The hardness and composition of the individual rock samples were not known in detail, though some Mars meteorites had given some initial findings. Like with all terrestrial planets, basalts and quartz-rich intrusive rocks as well as olivine were predominant. These have a relatively high hardness, i.e. a Mohs hardness of six to eight. For comparison: a diamond has a Mohs hardness of 10. The drill had to be capable of withstanding this and able to powder the Mars rocks in spite of these harsh conditions.

The friction spring as a buffer

The California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which builds spacecrafts for NASA, finally opted for a solution where a special friction spring effectively ensured robustness. It dampens the impacts of the drill and absorbs the occurring kinetic energy that can amount up to six Joule.

Friction spring: Durable, robust, maintenance-free 

Friction springs, which damp high forces in spite of their relatively small dimensions, are used for applications in mechanical engineering, aviation as well as for earthquake protection in buildings and power supply facilities. They consist of inner and outer rings that interact via conical contact surfaces and use a lubricant tailored to the respective application. As a standard, the friction springs absorb 66 per cent of the induced energy. The component is made from Stainless Steel and has been specifically developed to fulfill the requirements of the Mars mission. Instead of using the conventional lubricant, the component for the Mars robot has been designed with a coating.

Curiosity accomplished its primary mission in 2014, but is still en route. Mid of January 2016, Curiosity transmitted a selfie to earth which shows it digging in the so-called Namib Dune.

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Monday, 5 September 2016

How do you fix a stained glass window using stainless steel?

The gleam of new stone in sunlight reveals that work is complete on the conservation challenge that Canterbury Cathedral would never have wanted to tackle – the reconstruction of a towering medieval window, built to hold some of the most precious stained glass in the world, and to improve strength in the lead joints Stainless Steel is being used.

The glowing stained glass, including the towering figures of the ancestors of Christ, the finest and oldest set of their kind in Europe, is gradually being taken from its purpose-built air-conditioned storage in Leonie Seliger’s glass studio, housed in a charmingly ramshackle shed in the north side of the church.

Surprisingly all the glass panels that will fill the gigantic window, including many that are 800 years old, fit into one storage space not much bigger than an office stationery cupboard. As they are reinstalled they will fill a window 16 metres tall and seven wide with jewelled colour, but for now light pours through the panes of plain leaded glass, which will protect the medieval masterpieces from wind, rain, and 21st-century pollution.

An urgent inspection followed, and the results were worse than they could have imagined: the stone was from one of the mullions, the vertical sections that help support the weight of the window and the wall above it, and it was disintegrating. The devastating conclusion was that the window was in danger of imminent collapse, and within weeks all the ancient glass had been removed, and the window boarded up.

Deeming explained that consulting and getting approval from the ecclesiastical and heritage groups concerned in one of the most important and historic buildings England was an unprecedented challenge but eventually all agreed: the glass could not go back into the decaying stone frame, and the only solution was to dismantle and rebuild it, using traditional techniques and materials – including poured lead joints which would have been familiar to the Romans – with a bit of fancy 21st-century engineering in Stainless Steel for extra strength.

When the window was built in the 1420s, as the cathedral was transformed from Romanesque to Gothic – when some of the glass was already centuries old – it was at the limit of what was technically possible. In the centuries that followed the whole structure shifted gradually with the building, leaning slightly outwards and to one side.

The £2.5m cost of the project was not budgeted for in the conservation programme, but the stone itself will repay some of the cost. A unique auction, of hundreds of pieces removed from the window, from bookend to garden feature size, will be held in the cathedral’s stone yard on 24 September.

All the glass will be back in place by Christmas, and the stonework – though they hardly dare say it – should now be good for at least another century.

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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

4 tonnes of Stainless Steel 'marmite'

"Fantastic", "hard to decipher" and a "waste of money" - a new £50,000 art installation at The Spot in Derby continues to divide opinion among residents.

The sculpture, made up of four rings each weighing up to a tonne, was installed at the site today. Work will continue until the official opening on October 14, with concrete slabs due to be laid on land at the centre of the plot.

Juliet Quintero, director of DPQ Architects in London, which designed the rings sculpture, said it had been inspired by Derby's engineering history and, in particular, the idea of motion.

The structure is part of a £1.2 million revamp of The Spot, which has seen a clock tower and public toilets removed. The city council, Quad and the St Peters Quarter Business Improvement District, which has since ended, published an open design competition to appoint an artist to design the development in 2013. A shortlist of four was drawn up before the public voted on their preferred choice.

The council said the installation would be used to form the backdrop for street theatre and live performances.

Ms Spooner said this would be a good idea for the area. She said: "I like the idea of the street theatre but I still think it could have been a bit more representative of the city. I liked the clock tower, there's nothing like that down this end of the town anymore."

Mary Degnan, 82, who was visiting the city from Glasgow, said she thought the project would be attractive to tourists. She said: "I've been to Derby about six times over the years and a lot has changed. I remember the old bus station and I've seen a lot of the shops close and new ones open. The shopping centre is beautiful and it will look really nice outside it."

Not everyone was as impressed with the development. Brian, of Normanton, who did not wish to give his surname, said he thought it was a "waste of money".

He said: "There used to be two toilet blocks there and a raised seating area. All that will be here now is that and the people who sit around in St Peter's Street causing trouble."

Work will continue to run until October 14 when there will be an official opening.

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