The Halley Research Station is an international research platform for monitoring atmospheric changes and space weather in the Antarctic. Built on a floating ice shelf in the Weddell Sea, Halley VI is the world’s first relocatable research facility. This award-winning and innovative research station provides scientists with state-of-theart laboratories and living accommodation, enabling them to study pressing global problems from climate change and sea-level rises to space weather and the hole in the ozone layer – first discovered by the Halley station in 1985.

Temperatures at Halley rarely rise above 0 °C although they do reach +10 °C on sunny summer days. Typical winter temperatures are below -20 °C with extreme lows of around -55 °C. There is 24-hour darkness for 105 days of the year when flying becomes impossible and residents are completely isolated from the outside world by the surrounding sea ice. Only a nearby colony of emperor penguins keeps them company.


Our Solution


As part of the Halley VI relocation project a new wastewater system for the living accommodation is being installed. In early August 2016, Armacell were contacted by the relocation project engineers from British Antarctic Survey regarding a solution for insulating the wastewater system in severe weather conditions. The use of water in Halley VI is minimized by providing spray and aerated taps, dual low-flush toilets and low-flow showers. Grey water from washing is used to flush toilets and reduced water consumption means lower volumes of wastewater. Biodigestion creates clean wastewater and dry solids that can be taken out from Antarctica. The piping scheme bores deep into the ice shelf where the temperature requirements remain close to -20 ºC throughout the year. AF/ArmaFlex Class O was recommended as the main thermal insulation material. ArmaFlex elastomeric foam products have the benefit of remaining flexible and operational down to -50 ºC, expanding and contracting with temperature changes without becomin  brittle. Armacell recommended the use of a multilayer construction with a primary layer of high temperature HT/ArmaFlex to accommodate the heat tracing temperatures. A top layer of Arma-Chek R provides a flexible mechanical resistance barrier to protect the pipe against impact damage and movement of the ice. Armacell recommended 25 mm HT/ArmaFlex sheet and 19 mm thick AF/ArmaFlex Class O tubes for pipe diameters of 76 and 114 mm. The flexible ArmaFlex insulation materials significantly reduce the energy input needed for the heat tracing by preventing heat losses to the surrounding ice.


As the inventors of flexible foam for equipment insulation and a leading provider of engineered foams, Armacell develops innovative and safe thermal, acoustic and mechanical solutions that create sustainable value for its customers. Armacell’s products significantly contribute to global energy efficiency making a difference around the world every day.

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