The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 31 May 2019 00:00cat

What is the maximum height a skyscraper can reach?

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What is the maximum height a skyscraper can reach? What is the maximum height a skyscraper can reach?

As global infrastructure consistently focuses on building taller and higher buildings, a question arises: What is the maximum height that a skyscraper can reach?

Currently, the taller skyscraper worldwide is the 828-meter Burj Khalifa located in Dubai. However, the first building that will exceed one-kilometer height is already being built in Jeddah, Saudi Arabi.

This is still not the ultimate height that a building can reach and in order to find out the limit, the following factors must be evaluated:

Wind Forces

The major issue of such high buildings are the wind forces that act on them. Wind can cause intense oscillation or even structural collapse.

Some high skyscrapers use a technique that involves placing a large pendulum at the top of building (tuned mass damper). The system mitigates the impact of wind as the pendulum swings back and forth, absorbing a significant amount of the energy. A similar technique that operates in the same manner involves placing a water pool at the top of the skyscraper. In addition, the structural shape can be sleekly designed in order to reduce the forces acting on the structure.

Operability of the building

The second challenge that such a building would face is its operability. Getting to the top of a very high skyscraper will be possible only through elevators. Therefore, lifts must be fast enough to evacuate people as soon as possible in case of an emergency. Until today, the fastest elevators can reach up to 70 km/h, limiting the maximum height that can be implemented. Jeddah Tower will have 59 elevators that will use ultra-strong carbon fiber ropes as normal ropes would be very weak.

The question is difficult to answer but, with current technology, a skyscraper of more than 2 kilometers could be built. So, another question that arises is should humanity try to reach the maximum limit?
Despite the concept being an impressive challenge, it should not be realized. Such a high building would require a devastating amount of materials and would severely impact the environment.




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