By: Dave Olsen
The Pentagon Memorial is designed to honor those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attack at the Pentagon. Each victim’s age and location at the time of the attack have been permanently inscribed into the Memorial by the unique placement and direction of each of the 184 benches.
The 184 benches within the Pentagon Memorial are located on the age line according to the year the victim was born. The age lines, denoted by stainless steel strips that cross the Memorial, begin at the zero line, which spans from the Gateway to the entrance of the Memorial. Etched into the granite zero line is the date and time of the attack: “SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 9:37 A.M.”
The Carondelet Division of MetalTek International produced the 184 benches that are the key design element of the Pentagon Memorial. Each bench is a stainless-steel sand casting over 12 feet long, weighing in excess of 1,000 pounds with inlaid smooth granite. This project presented unique challenges in design, materials, and cosmetics.
MetalTek’s commitment to produce a quality piece and to make a lasting difference were highly visible through all phases of the Pentagon Memorial project.
- The architects and designers of the Memorial needed to find an expert source to help select the appropriate material for the benches. The need for long life had to be balanced with the budget realities of a privately funded project. After various materials were trialed and evaluated, the artists and MetalTek selected a restricted range 316LN (CF3MN-Mod) alloy to deliver the desired look and properties.
- Material selection was also impacted by the size, shape, and dimensions of the bench design. The design requirements demanded that the product must be manufacturable to tight tolerances such that the 184 benches would appear to be identical. Specialized tooling, processing, and fixtures were developed to deliver just that.
- More than simply producing a casting, MetalTek also managed the value chain and logistics, including the installation of the stonework and polishing, to achieve the desired finished look of a monument designed to last a lifetime. Even with the complexity of the design and supply chain – including many features not normally associated with an industrial application – MetalTek met the budget and the schedule.
MetalTek customers demand more than metal. The same technical, metallurgical, and process expertise that goes into producing components for jet engines or nuclear power plants is routinely applied to projects as important as the Pentagon Memorial. And with the same success. MetalTek is honored to have been called on to be a part of this important monument and to make a lasting difference.