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Case Studies

Halley V Antarctic Research Centre

Sectors: Structural
Applications: Structural Connections

Summary: Lindapter Girder Clamps were used to construct the jack up platforms for the main accommodation building.


The Halley V project started in January 1989, with the engineers requiring a method of connecting the structural steelwork in the hostile Antarctic environment and a solution that would withstand the severe conditions for up to 20 years (the anticipated maximum lifecycle of the Centre).

Drilling or welding would have been incredibly difficult, if not impossible in the sub-zero temperatures and blizzards; consequently Lindapter was approached to design a connection that could be easily installed and would endure such environmental circumstances. Following successful testing Lindapter Girder Clamps were specified utilising blackheart malleable iron Type A and Type B fixings. The fixings were cast in blackheart as a result of the iron’s significant tolerance to low temperatures.

Due to the inhospitable setting, wearing bulky gloves was essential at the point of installation so the clamps were designed to make assembly as simple as possible and supplied part-assembled to minimise work onsite.

The structural steelwork was successfully secured to the frame with Girder Clamps, forming a cross-girder base to support the accommodation block. The steel platform featured extendable steel legs that allowed the building to be elevated each year to keep it above the accumulated snow level.

Deconstruction and recycle

In 2013, the research centre was decommissioned and far-exceeded the structure’s intended lifespan of 20 years. The steel and Girder Clamps were found to be in prime condition, despite enduring over two decades of extreme environmental forces. “Conditions are extremely inhospitable at times,” said Steve Canham, British Antarctic Survey Building Officer. “During the summer months the continent has 24 hours of sunlight a day, which warmed up the steelwork, while in the totally dark winter months the external frame cooled as low as minus 55 degrees”.

Lindapter’s experience in the design and manufacture of steelwork connections proved to be incredibly beneficial to the project, as the customised clamps provided a significant tolerance and strength to withstand the requirements of thermal flexing. Lindapter’s Girder Clamps were particularly appropriate for this project due to Lindapter’s synergy with the principles of the circular economy, for example, Lindapter’s products provide flexibility, longevity, ease of deconstruction and suitability for recycling.

Over a period of one month, the station, including its steel superstructure, was systematically unbolted, removed from the ice shelf and shipped to South Africa for recycling.

Situated on the same ice shelf, the British Antarctic Survey’s latest steel framed research station, Halley VI, is now in use.