Daily life 3 min
Plastics in Olympic form
Increasingly prevalent, plastics not only address the basic requirements of sports facilities like athlete- and spectator- safety, meeting sporting standards and letting athletes up their game... they also help to keep them looking good and serving the community for longer.
Plastics in Olympic form
Plastics in Olympic form

Top performers

Technical textiles qualified for Euro 2012

Euro 2012 will get under way with the kick-off of the Poland-Greece game in Warsaw's new National Stadium on 08 June. The 58,000-strong crowd in this crown-shaped ground emblazoned in chequered red and white with the Polish colours will enjoy the matches in comfort, whatever the weather...as will the squads battling it out on the pitch.

JSK Architecki, the architectural firm, has seen to it that fans will be comfortable and the teams will be able to play at their best. The 55 000 sq.m. ring covering the stands provides permanent protection in the form of a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-coated fibreglass membrane.

The stadium's retractable roof means players will not be put off their game by rain or the Sun. At the first sign of bad weather, the 11,000 sq. m. polyester and PVC composite membrane can be rolled out in a quarter of an hour along the 60 cables lashed to the central pole suspended above the playing field.

The sophisticated machinery of the hundred tonne king post recreates the velum roof covering system of the Roman Coliseum to protect not just the stands, but the entire arena.


PVC – the ‘comeback kid’ of the London Olympics

Twelve years after Sydney, the 2012 London Olympics have put sustainable development centrestage, but this time in a very different light. On the social front, creating the Olympic Village has helped regenerate one of East London's most run-down districts. Environmentally-speaking, it produced a dramatic turn of events: the comeback of PVC, which has been in the doghouse since the Sydney Olympics. The "Commission for a Sustainable London 2012" actually decided that PVC's many qualities fitted the bill perfectly: lightweight, modular, small carbon footprint and easy end-of-life recycling.

This is why most building skins are partly or completely of flexible polyester-PVC membranes. The new 80,000-seat stadium has been made modular for legacy use. The swimming stadium designed by Zaha Hadid will have its wings clipped and be scaled-down with its roof stretched.


The "Basketball Arena" will be dismantled and the handball stadium converted into a multi-purpose sports hall. Shooting competitions will be held in a temporary facility set up at Woolwich Common in the gardens of the Royal Artillery Barracks, built in 1776. A truly British solution!

Dazzling LEDs !

Light emitting diode (LEDs) re a booming industry. LEDs – which can emit light from an optoelectronic component powered by an electric current - are getting to be widely used in sports. The technology is starting to break into sports lighting, such as in the Romorantin swimming bath’s LED spotlight used to illuminate the pool.
On the other hand, LEDs are now standard in multimedia screens for sports broadcasting. The King Baudouin stadium has fitted a monster 81 sq. m. screen. Delivering the world’s highest resolution at minimal energy consumption, LEDs combine technology and ecology.
Finally, LEDs have been married with plexiglass to create Rotterdam's Sustainable Dance Club. The dance-floor’s movable surface converts the kinetic energy generated by clubbers into electricity – a piezoelectric process that has already caught the attention of the writers of the European Commission’s White Paper on sport.

All stand for plastic seats

A competition isn’t much fun if fans aren’t comfortably seated. The ergonomic virtues of plastics contribute to fair play in sporting events!

Stands not only have to provide a clear view; they also have to be comfortable, safe and look good. So builders have dropped wood for plastic. Long-lived polymer concrete has made it the de facto material for stands, while polypropylene, a highly resistant copolymer plastic, is now the preferred material for seating.


The design advantages of plastic are well-established. These malleable materials have become the standard choice thanks to the ease of moulding to different shapes and the vast choice of colours. And while colouring may seem a trifling issue, studies claim that colours do affect the mental states of athletes and fans alike. Colours are also often used to create a visual identity, and nowhere is this more apparent than in London's "Basketball Area" with its 12,000 seats resplendent in the sport’s signature colours of orange and black!

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