Steel: The Secret Ingredient to Summer Water Fun
Oct 30 2017
Steel is integral to creating a fun, safe place to play. One such location is a water park, where families and friends can kick back and relax, splash in the water, or experience exhilarating water rides – all of which steel makes possible. The next time you’re standing in line for your favorite ride, look up. The beams holding up the structure are steel, a substance that allows engineers to design more inventive and fun water park creations. Steel’s strength and durability give the engineers freedom to create newer, better, more exciting rides.
The delicate-seeming spiral slides in these parks work due to the strength of steel. Such a ride doesn’t have to be clunky and cumbersome because of the way steel withstands the weight of the slide and whoever comes flying down it. The lightness of steel matters, too. Think about the of tipping buckets that are standard in most water parks; buckets that use steel in these parks can withstand the weight of water while still being light enough to tip.
Everywhere you go in a waterpark, you will find structures made from steel. The playground equipment, with all those intricate climbing structures, ladders, and monkey bars, is steel. The picnic tables where you enjoy an afternoon snack with your family, the handrails on stairs, and the decorative fencing scattered throughout the water park are all made from steel. Though it’s not the only element that creates a water park, it would be hard to find a way to create one without the crucial ingredient of steel.
Using Steel Safely
Steel, if not treated properly, will start to weaken from long-term exposure to moisture. Corrosion wreaks havoc on the strongest metals, even in systems designed to resist it, leaving headaches behind for park owners, engineers, and architects.
Expectations for stainless steel lead people to believe that the metal can resist corrosion. If the incorrect steel alloy is used, however, corrosion will strike. Steel can be painted or galvanized, but neither process provides long-term solutions. The key lies in choosing the right alloy. The designer must take into consideration the entire project, including all stressors present, to make sure manufacturers use the proper alloy. In some instances, this may include the use of sacrificial anodes, made from a metal that has more negatively charged electrochemical potential.
Building Safe Water Features
One exciting new water park feature is the splash pad. This interactive, multi-use feature creates a fun, safe place for people of all ages to come and enjoy. City parks, theme and water parks, zoos, playgrounds, and more have installed these fun attractions. Splash pads must be durable, so they can stand up to heavy traffic and long-term use. They need to be strong, able to operate all day, and withstand a variety of stresses and uses.
Steel is at the heart of splash pad design. Specifically, an extremely durable stainless steel. When complete, the water feature is painted using a powder-coating method with multiple colors for variety and safety. These structures provide the backbone for the water feature and house the water delivery system. The features can be designed to change positions with a stainless-steel plate bottom, giving the splash pad endless variety with no extra cost to the owner – it can entertain and cool off children during the hot afternoon hours and transition to a pedestrian area with the flip of a switch.
The difficulty in designing structures for water parks, pools, and splash pads comes in applying the right elements to maximize the lifespan of the structure. Swanton Welding understands these issues and has the experience and know-how to build structures that are safe and durable.
Call us today with your plans for building your next water feature.