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The Beijing Water Cube

The Water Cube is set to make a splash for the 2008 Olympics.

China is no doubt one the most remarkable places in the world today, particularly in terms of its architectural marvels. Its buildings, many of them epic in size and design, range from the ancient to the high-tech and modern. National Geographic Channel's China Special Month is about the stories of the modern-day architectural projects in China that are producing amazing new buildings for the world to enjoy.  

Beijing Water Cube is one of the programs in this series, and it is very much about the modern as opposed to the ancient. The Beijing Water Cube is a building for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The building, which will be the National Aquatics Center, is indeed in the shape of a cube, but its appearance is far from run-of-the-mill. It is made of a steel honeycomb-like frame covered in a unique skin that is modeled after soap bubbles. Simply put, the effect is that the Water Cube looks like an enormous cube-shaped bundle of bubbles.  

The bubbles are made of a plastic called ETFE, which is also used to protect spaceships from cosmic radiation. One of the advantages of ETFE is that it traps solar energy in the winter and reflects it in the summer, helping to control the building's temperature. 3,500 bubbles had to be cut individually and sized in order to create the honeycomb-like structure. The bubbles are not identical or symmetrical, but seem to be organized randomly, with different shapes and sizes nestled together. Despite its random appearance, however, the soap-bubble structure used in the design has a geometry that's perfect for a high-tech building. Soap bubbles actually always cling together in regular patterns, and the fragile-looking skin of the building's bubbles—the plastic covering is only 1/5 of a millimeter thick! — is entirely safe.

Tune in to Beijing Water Cube to get the full story on this incredible new structure.

     
  1.

Which of the following is true about the Beijing Water Cube ?

       
    (A) It is made with a huge number of steel cubes.
    (B) It is meant to show Chinese architecture, old and new.
    (C)

The plastic is put in place around a steel frame.

    (D) It was finished during the last Olympics and will be used in the 2008 Olympics.
       
  2. Regarding ETFE, which of the following can NOT be inferred from the article ?
       
    (A) The plastic is extremely thin.
    (B)

The plastic feels like soap when you touch it.

    (C) An astronaut might find ETFE useful.
    (D) The plastic helps the building stay cool on hot summer days.
       
  3. According to the article, soap bubbles are a good model for a building because _____.
       
    (A) they are cheap and easy to get
    (B) they are transparent
    (C)

their structure is not as delicate as it seems

    (D) they blend in with the environment
       
  4. Which of the following could be another title for the article ?
       
    (A)

An Amazing New Building for the Olympics

    (B) The Discovery of ETFE
    (C) Soap Bubbles Can Be Used for Many Things
    (D) The Water Cube Replaces All Older Chinese Buildings
       
      make a splash   to become suddenly very successful or very well known
           
      run of the mill   ordinary, average
           
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  Answers : 1) C    2) B    3) C    4) A
 
 
 
 
 

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