Giant aquarium explodes: how does it happen and what is the risk? physicist explains

A giant aquarium with 1,500 tropical fish exploded this Friday (16) in the lobby of the luxury hotel Radisson Blu, in Berlin (Germany). The AquaDom, 14 meters high, is considered “the largest cylindrical aquarium in the world”, according to Guinness.

Inaugurated in 2003, it contained one million liters of water in a tank of cast acrylic “in loco”.

The aquarium simply “exploded”, said the spokesman for the fire department. The walls broke at 5:50 am (1:50 am GMT), killing fish and slightly injuring two people.

Although the causes of the incident are still unknown, Tilt

    heard the physicist and UFABC researcher, Rogério Dias, and listed some possibilities:

  • The temperature:
  • today was a very cold day in Berlin, below a degree, which may have led to a contraction excessive water and generated micro-tensions in the wall of the aquarium, leading to the explosion.

  • The size : the greater the capacity of a space, the greater the process of contraction and expansion of the product.
  • The shape: the cylindrical shape spreads stress throughout the product, which would lead to an overall wall failure. Unlike what would happen in a standard aquarium, in which the tension would be concentrated on just one of the walls. That is, rectangular ones are safer, which is why they are more common.

    aquario - AFP - AFP

      Image: AFP

    Can every aquarium explode?

    An opportunity for this to occur in other structures around the world will depend on the project. Generally, the engineer in charge, who can be civil, specialized in hydraulics, calculates the maximum expansion and contraction of the protection (acrylic or glass), with a margin of error to avoid accidents.

    However, in extreme cases, it can happen to exceed the limit for which the structure was designed– we are having much colder winters and much hotter summers.

    Today we are experiencing a worldwide warming process and it is quite possible that these limits did not consider changing temperatures in this way The fish

    While it worked, the maintenance of the regional age was carried out by divers. In addition, there was a complete structure, with pumps and computerized control, to pump salt water into the gigantic aquarium.

    Biologist Larissa Moro, a specialist in wild animals, points out that, given the impact , the fish must have died.

    “The marine victims were exotic species– which is to be expected, as the only objective of this aquarium is precisely entertainment and aesthetics” , he points out. “Saltwater fish are more delicate species than freshwater ones, so the chance of survival is quite low.”

    Normally, a freshwater fish like the pleco can take hours or even days to die outside their common environment, but this does not happen with saltwater ones.


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