Midland, Michigan-An 85-tonne granite statue of Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II has been successfully moved from downtown Cairo to a more fitting home in the new Grand Egyptian Museum, and was protected during the ten-hour truck journey by a coating of rigid foam from Dow Polyurethane Systems.
The 3200-year-old statue has been standing in a congested part of Cairo for more than 50 years but, with the help of a coating of about two tonnes of rigid foam, it has now been safely transported to the museum site, near the Great Pyramids in Giza.
"We were thrilled to be involved in helping to protect a historical treasure like King Ramses II that holds such great significance for the Egyptian culture and to the world," commented Juan Antonio Merino, general manager of Dow Polyurethane Systems, in a Dow statement. This novel use illustrates Dow's "ability to develop polyurethane systems that solve individual customer challenges no matter what they are or where they are located around the world," he added.
On its ten-hour trip the statue was wrapped in a tailor-made rigid foam formulation, developed by Dow Polyurethane Systems. Dow said the contractors chose the Voracor material "because it met the specific flow properties, cell structure, compressive strength and density required for the safe transportation of the heavy statue."
According to Dow, Arab Contractors Co. the largest contracting company in Egypt, needed a spray foam formulation with high compressive strength at the lowest density possible, without deformation, to protect the massive statue on its route from Cairo to Giza. Based on the contractor's specifications, Dow developed a closed-cell PU foam system with 180 kPa compressive strength and 80kg/cu.m density, with appropriate flow properties required for spraying and for filling in the cavities in the statue.
"Working closely with Misalla-the company handling all the operations related to the protection of the statue by means of the polyurethane system-we were able to develop the exact polyurethane system needed to ensure the safest possible transport for the statue," said Sherif Badran, technical & sales representative, Dow Polyurethane Systems, in Dow's statement.
Coating the Ramses II effigy with foam took about three days. First, the surface was wrapped in layers of special cloth, and then with a layer of silicone rubber to act as a shock absorber. The foam was then injected onto the silicone rubber layer at three levels-the crown, the waist and the legs-using a small mobile injection machine that gave easy access to all levels of the 36-foot (11-m) high statue.