How a metal ball ‘damper’ protected Taipei 101 from Taiwan earthquake | EUROtoday

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When a 7.4-magnitude earthquake rocked Taiwan on Wednesday, individuals contained in the island’s tallest skyscraper, Taipei 101, have been protected by a big yellow pendulum on the constructing’s middle that helped take in the shock.

Known as a “tuned mass damper” the 730-ton metal sphere is suspended between a number of flooring on the prime of the constructing, the place it may be seen by the general public. The observatory is a well-liked vacationer attraction within the capital metropolis.

The sphere strikes forwards and backwards throughout earthquakes or typhoons that commonly lash the island, absorbing the pressure of any “violent swinging,” in accordance with the Taipei 101 web site. The damper’s engineers say it will possibly curtail the constructing’s motion by as much as 40 p.c, decreasing the queasiness felt by its occupants.

Closed-circuit TV footage of the Taipei skyline for the time being the earthquake hit exhibits the pagoda-shaped skyscraper hardly transferring. The safety digital camera, mounted on one other constructing, is shaking violently.

Live cam footage and safety cameras catch the second a lethal 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the east coast of Taiwan on April 3. (Video: Reuters)

Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest constructing when it was accomplished in 2004 — a title it held till 2009. As the title suggests, it’s 101 tales tall, reaching a peak of 1,667 ft, together with its spire.

It has quite a few different design options that improve its resilience to pure disasters — together with 380 piles pushed deep into the bottom. The deepest is rammed some 30 meters, or virtually 100 ft, into the bedrock, which, in accordance with Taipei 101, “is similar to nailing the entire building onto a solid tectonic plate.” Power is equipped to the constructing through two substations, decreasing the danger of an outage.

Taiwan, residence to 23 million individuals, is susceptible to earthquakes due to its location inside the world’s most seismically energetic zone, often called the Ring of Fire. Nine individuals have been killed and greater than 900 injured in Wednesday’s earthquake, the strongest to strike the island in 25 years. A 7.6-magnitude tremor struck central Taiwan in 1999, killing greater than 2,400 individuals.

Taipei 101 is just not the one skyscraper in Taiwan and all over the world to make use of damper programs for stability — though it’s a uncommon case by which the engineering is on show.

A design flaw may have doomed a New York skyscraper within the Seventies — though it had a tuned mass damper, a complicated design characteristic on the time. The constructing’s engineer needed to hustle to resolve the difficulty — which was identified by a university pupil — because the hurricane season was approaching.

A video on Taipei 101’s web site exhibits the sphere rocking gently throughout a Category 5 hurricane in 2015, ranked by scientists as one of many strongest storms on this planet that 12 months.