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Austrian know-how for huge sunshade in Mecca

(c) V-Research GmbH © V-Research GmbH

With a height of 30 meters and a pan of 53 meters, this innovation clearly stands out from the existing sunshades. “It is probably the largest such sunshade of its kind”, explained Alexander Diem from the research institute V-Research located in Dornbirn, whose team participated in the development.

The institute in Vorarlberg, member of the medium-sized research network Austrian Cooperative Research (ACR), focuses on industrial research and development, with a particular emphasis on tribology. The membrane of the foldable mega umbrella, which provides shade, is pulled tight by eight extendable telescopic arms. A solution was necessary to ensure that the fabric would not be dirtied by lubricants. The Austrian researchers succeeded in developing a new approach based on a new type of substance and coating combination. The projected was supported by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) within the context of the COMET program XTribology.

Within the context of the annual Hajj, the huge grounds of the Grand Mosque, which is currently subject to renovation work, are visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, often in the face of extremely high temperatures. Following the expansion work, the most important and largest mosque in the world should be able to have enough space for more than one million believers. 

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