Stand­ing Up to Quakes

Popular Science - - BUILT TO OUTLAST: POPSCI 2018 -

CHAL­LENGE: EARTH­QUAKES LO­CA­TION: TOKYO, JA­PAN

Perched on one of the most seis­mi­cally ac­tive tec­tonic-plate junc­tions, Ja­pan reg­is­ters more than 1,500 earth­quakes ev­ery year. Architects there have pi­o­neered new en­gi­neer­ing stan­dards to sta­bi­lize even sky­scrapers. For ex­am­ple, Mori Tower, one of the tallest build­ings in Tokyo, con­tains

192 oil-filled shock ab­sorbers through­out its 54-story struc­ture. A sen­sor in­side these steel dampers de­tects small shud­ders and con­trols the flow of the fluid; when an earth­quake is de­tected, the dampers slosh a thick oil in the op­po­site di­rec­tion to coun­ter­bal­ance the tremor. The Ja­panese con­tinue to push seis­mic tech­nol­ogy’s bound­aries, en­gi­neer­ing dampers out of ev­ery­thing from iso­la­tion bear­ings to high-ten­sile car­bon fiber.

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