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Observatorio Astrofisico, La Palma

Sealing above the clouds

The observatory on Roque de los Muchachos (RMO) is located on the crater edge of the Caldera de Taburiente on the island of La Palma, about 2400 m above sea level. The RMO houses both night and solartelescopes and is one of the largest observatories in the world.
The Observatorio Astrofisico was built back in 1984 with the participation of various institutes from 19 countries and has been continually extended ever since.
Not only because of the extremely clean air and its exposed position above trade wind cloud formation (600 – 1800 m) is the location the most important one in Europe.
The observatory is also exposed to particular climatic conditions. During the day and especially in summer, heat and UV radiation up to 7-times higher than in the lowland prevail, whereas the temperatures decrease considerably at night. Although the island is close to the equator, there is a lot of snow at this altitude in the winter season.
The building of the control center for the MAGIC telescope, which was completed in 2003, was severely damaged by efflorescence and moisture penetration in the wall, joint and roof area, and the function of the scientific devices housed here was put at risk.
This is why the Max Planck Institute commissioned the renovation of the building. In agreement with the persons in charge at the institute, WEBAC® and our partner company on site, a renovation concept for putting into place surface sealings with WEBAC® 5611 was elaborated.
The excellent properties of this flexible, cementfilled bituminous acrylate dispersion withstand even the extraordinary climatic conditions on site.
First of all the old masonry paint was completely removed and areas with loose render and cracks in the masonry were repaired. WEBAC® 5611 was then applied as sealing by roller and wide brush in two operations. Thanks to the product‘s easy workability this was possible within a very short time. A priming coat of WEBAC® 5611 was then applied to areas with highly absorptive substrates such as the reworked render areas. Joints and base connections in the wall-floor area were also reinforced with geotextile. Finally, the entire surface was painted with a silicone resin paint. This ensures that the surface sealing is protected and the water vapor permeable character of WEBAC® 5611 is maintained at the same time. Residual humidity can now escape from the masonry without causing damage.
The structure could thus be permanently protected from penetrating moisture, and the universe can now again be observed without getting wet feet.