The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 23 March 2018 01:00cat

A curtain of cables for ‘earthquake-proof’ buildings

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This latest innovation is coming from Japan and combines functionality with sleek design

Japan is a country prone to earthquakes; in fact, the Japanese Meteorological Agency  records around 1,500 earthquakes each year! So the protection of its infrastructure is of utmost importance. An innovative design, called Earthquake Curtain, could save some of the country’s most important buildings.

The material-research company Komatsu Seiren has created threads made from thermoplastic carbon fibre composite, which are braided to form a strong and flexible rod; in fact as strong as iron, but 90% lighter. The company collaborated with the Tokyo-based architectural design firm Kengo Kuma to test out the new material at its office block. Almost 4,000 rods have been fitted to its outside, draping all around the structure, and anchoring it to the ground. The rods have also been installed inside the building, in order to strengthen the interior walls, and are placed next to the windows and through the stairways. Although the building has not been through a major earthquake yet, the concept is that during an earthquake, the rods stretch and pull the structure back in the opposite direction of the ground movement to prevent shaking. "We don't want to fight the earthquake, we want to live with earthquakes, and the design is the best way to find a solution to live with earthquakes," says Kuma, arguing that the building’s flexibility and softness, is its real strength. Another interesting project on which Komatsu Seiren and Kengo Kuma are collaborating is the reinforcement of the Zenkoji Temple in Nagano -one of Japan's oldest temples, visited by 6 million people every year! 

curtain of cables for earthquake-proof buildings1


curtain of cables for earthquake-proof buildings2

Image Credit: CNN

Source: CNN


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