The Style of Technology

Weebles Wobble

High above Taipei’s skyline squats one of the largest tuned mass dampers in the world. Comprised of 740 tons of welded steel plates and resembling a sci-fi beehive, the structure is designed to protect the Taipei 101 building from typhoon winds and a once-in-2500-years earthquake.

Tuned mass dampers are reactive devices used in structural systems to either absorb oscillation at a certain forcing frequency or damp oscillation at a particular resonant frequency. The damper in the Taipei 101 can move five feet in any direction, and reduces sway in strong winds by thirty to forty percent.

Tuned mass dampers have been put to use in everything from F-1 cars to power lines, but few approach the Taipei 101’s in size, and it’s doubtful that many others are installed more than 1200 feet above the ground.

[image source: wapedia]

  • Alff

    Does the ball drop tomorrow at 6?

    • Number_Six

      That's definitely the subtext here. We need to up the 'toasters travel budget and get someone on the ground to see.

      • OA5599

        I think someone is going to end up staring at an undescended ball.

        • dmilligan

          You know, I think I have a spare doomsday device laying around here somewhere that I'd be willing to rent out to the right kind of organization. Cash in advance please.

        • Number_Six

          What is the sound of one ball clapping?

    • dmilligan

      I'm trying to imagine the sound it would make as the ball crashed thru floor after floor, accelerating all the while, until it crashes into the basement with dust jetting out of all the ground level doors. I'm guessing "very loud and rhythmic".

  • SSurfer321

    In this age of technology, I pleasantly surprised they used such an archaic efficient device. Had this been built in the US we would have over engineered it with hydraulic pistons in caissons, active wind directing wall panels, etc.

  • Looks like it's, in part, a scaled-up version of one of these:

    [youtube 7zgKDgTIfgk youtube]

    Back when I was working on my dissertation, our group looked into getting a tabletop version for mounting samples on the laser table but decided it was better just to let the grad students (e.g. me) position and adjust everything manually.

  • Where did they find such a huge beryllium sphere?

    <img src="; width="400">