Silicones from Dow Corning solve high-altitude technical challenges at the world’s tallest tower

The spectacular Burj Khalifa skyscraper soars to 828m above ground level, holding the record for being the world’s tallest building and also for the highest installation of an aluminum and glass façade. To take on its numerous challenges and technical difficulties, it required proven silicone solutions and full support from Dow Corning.

October 15, 2012 |
A total of 103,000 square meters of glass was used in the cladding panels, which

The Burj Khalifa is part of an extraordinary 500 acre development called Downtown Dubai. The tower’s design is derived from patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture, and also takes inspiration from the harmonious structure of the Hymenocallis plant, which is native to the region.

This iconic project breaks many records while overcoming the greatest of challenges and technical difficulties, not least of which are the wind forces dominating the structural design of the tower, the logistics of moving men and materials at extreme heights, and construction of the building envelope.

Addressing the environmental and technical challenges

As with any construction in the Middle East, Dow Corning’s technical experts were confronted with testing and specifying products that are able to withstand the rigors of high temperature, ultra-violet light, seismic activity and inclement weather conditions including sandstorms and high winds. In addition, large areas of the curtain wall, which in total is equivalent in size to 17 soccer fields, are positioned at extreme height, which in turn, brings a new set of technical challenges.

Key Participants

Adrian Smith, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill — Architect

Far East Aluminum, Hong Kong Arabian Aluminum, UAE — Structural Glazing Fabricators

White Aluminum, UAE­ — Insulating Glass Fabricator

Samsung Engineering & Construction — Main Contractor

Emaar Properties — Developer

Solving the pressure build-up problem

A total of 103,000 square meters of glass was used in the cladding panels, which are incorporated into a total facade area of 132,190 square meters. These advanced cladding panels maximize resistance against heat transmission from the sun and save energy through the use of sophisticated engineering techniques, which include high performance reflective glazing.

The unitized panels were interlocking on site and up to two stories tall. Being positioned at such high elevations, the risk of pressure buildup within the insulating glass units was alleviated through the design specification and Dow Corning 3362 Silicone Insulating Glass Sealant, was used as the secondary perimeter seal. Silicone application was carried out by White Aluminum Enterprise, who is a member of Dow Corning® Quality Bond—an initiative which provides technical training and support, designed to achieve excellence in quality control, quality assurance and standards of workmanship.


Dow Corning 993 Silicone Structural Glazing Sealant

Dow Corning 3362 Silicone Insulating Glass Sealant

Dow Corning 798 Clean and Coldroom Silicone Sealant

In addition, Dow Corning 993 Silicone Structural Glazing Sealant was specified to bring additional secondary support of the insulating glass units, which were mechanically attached to the frame as the primary support. And, for sealing the exclusive bathrooms within the prestigious apartments, Dow Corning 798 Cold and Cleanroom Silicone Sealant was specified.

Click here to view a short animated presentation about how Dow Corning products and support helped Burj Khalifa become a reality.

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