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Dow Designs Iconic Arena’s Ice System

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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Dow Chemical Company is helping the University of Michigan hockey players feel confident that they aren’t skating on thin ice.

The specialty chemical giant teamed up with the university to help insulate the foundation under the new ice slab at the school’s recently renovated Yost Ice Arena.

U of M’s Wolverines started skating on their new ice system this season, according to a university statement. The $16 million renovations at the arena were phased over the past 13 years, with Detroit-based architectural firm Rossetti leading the design work, the university said.

The existing ice system had been in use since 1973 and had exceeded life expectancy. Renovating the ice system was the last phase of the project, the university said.

Scope of the Project

The school hired Stevens Engineering Inc. to design the $5.8 million ice system project. The scope of the project included removing and rebuilding the existing rink; modifying the ice equipment room; enclosing the Zamboni flood water treatment system; extending the wall in the Zamboni area to increase separation from the west concourse; expanding the snow melt pit; and building two new brick screen walls to enclose cooling towers and dumpsters.

Dow, which said it has a history of partnership with the university, was charged with finding a solution to maintain a consistent temperature both above and below the arena’s new ice slab, the company said in a video about its design.

“Over the last five to seven years, we’ve put significant investment into Yost Arena,” said Steve Donoghue, Construction Project Manager for Michigan Athletics, in the video. “It was so critical that we get another 40 or 50 years out of this system that we just installed, and having the ability to control temperature and have the ice that we want to play on.

Dow helped the University of Michigan design an ice system to keep temperature consistent on both sides of the slab in the newly renovated Yost Ice Arena.

“One of the things that we looked at when we started considering our ice plan replacement was the importance of having a stable foundation,” continued Donoghue. “The slab actually is where the ice is created, but the foundation is also very important and that’s what the slab sits on.

“If that were to have significant changes in temperature or movement, that could lead to significant problems, as you can imagine.”

Slab Solution

To address the challenge of extreme temperature changes on both sides of the ice slab, Dow used more than 35,000 square feet of its Styrofoam Brand XPS Insulation. The insulation helps slow heat loss and prevents the slab from heaving on the ice surface, according to Dow.

Dow Chemical Company

Dow used 35,000 square feet of Styrofoam Brand XPS Insulation and 750 gallons of Dowfrost HD Heat Transfer Fluid to keep temperature consistent and prevent heaving and corrosion.

Below the two layers of insulation, a series of pipes carries 750 gallons of Dowfrost HD Heat Transfer Fluid through the slab’s foundation. This industrially inhibited propylene glycol-based fluid transports heat recovery from the ice sheet chillers to prevent subsoil freezing, according to Dow. It also helps maintain ice quality and helps deter corrosion in the pipes.

“Putting together a design with the right products, the right engineering, we feel that this project is one that we are all very proud of,” said Donoghue.

Beyond the Ice

In addition to ice systems improvements, the now 87-year-old iconic arena saw improvements to its concourses; concession stations; restroom facilities; press box; and technology and mechanical systems.

Earlier improvements also included upgrades to seating and player facilities as well as details that helped transform “a dark hockey barn into a bright, modern arena while retaining its historic feel,” according to the university.


Tagged categories: Corrosion resistance; Dow Chemical Company; Insulation; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Temperature

Comment from Malik Nawaz, (11/17/2015, 8:32 AM)

I will be interested to see the drawing of floor cross-section and products' names.

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