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Blue PU for Akron U

By David Reed, UT EditorAkron, Ohio-A thermoset polyurethane, based on an aliphatic isocyanate donated by Bayer Corp, was used to create this striking 40-foot (over 12-m) high translucent sculpture outside the Goodyear Polymer Centre of the University of Akron in Ohio.The work, by Dale Chihuly, a noted artist working with glass and translucent materials, comprises 83 hollow polymer pieces, each weighing 60-80 pounds (27-36 kg) attached to a stainless steel armature. Its cost, about $475 000, was supported through private donations.The urethane system used to make the components was developed by BJB Enterprises of Tustin, California, said Dr Frank Kelley, dean of the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering in the university. This sculpture is a fabulous convergence of science and art,” Kelley said. The outdoor durability, scale and beauty of this optical-grade polymer sculpture will complement the Goodyear Polymer Center’s reflective glass surfaces. The Chihuly sculpture will be the next great landmark in Akron,” he added.The sculpture is located on a traffic roundabout in front of the polymer center; Landscaping and lighting will be added later, and a dedication ceremony will take place during autumn term, a statement from the university added.Based in Seattle, 64-year-old Chihuly is noted for revolutionising the Studio Glass movement through the use of teams. In his work, he conceives projects as a drawing, has the glass or polymer pieces created, and then his team physically assembles the sculpture on site.”

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