Wonderful Engineering

These Amazing Carbon Fiber Curtains Can Make A Building Earthquake-Proof

Credits: Wired

How do you make a structure quake-proof? Precast concrete? Steel Plates? Column-Beam system? Forget that, these “curtains” made of carbon fibers can also ensure that the building stands if an earthquake strikes.

Approximately 1,500 earthquakes hit Japan annually therefore, the Japanese are finding novel ways to support the buildings in the country. Instead of using the conventional concrete or steel, a Japanese company, Komatsu Seiren has used carbon-fibre ropes to hold the building. The textile company has made twines from carbon-fibre composite that has high tensile strength.

Credits: Wired

The company approached architects from Kengo Kuma and Associates to use the ropes of the material to anchor and reinforce its new laboratory and showroom buildings in Nomi.

“Since the carbon fibre is tough and pliant, they approached us with an idea of utilising it to render the building quake-resistant,” says the lead architect of the project. “The carbon mesh inside and the drape outside help restrain the horizontal force of the earthquake.”

This diagram shows tensile strength applied to the exterior rods during an earthquake. Red shows the areas of most tension, ranging through to yellow and then blue, where there is least. Credits: Wired

The team has already attached about 1,031 twines to the roof and hitched them to the ground. The support works in a very simple way. If the building is jerked right, the carbon fiber ropes on the left pulls it in opposite direction and vice versa. About 2,778 ropes were also added inside the building for greater support.

Credits: designboom

This was the first time that rods of carbon fibers were used for building stability in the form of a curtain. The architects are of the opinion that the same method can be applied to other structures like wooden buildings that are flexible and “tend to sway horizontally”.

The company’s showroom. Credits: Designboom

Do you think these carbon fiber curtains will be effective in saving the buildings from earthquakes? Let us know in comments!