Skyscrapers – A Step Towards Sky

By reading the word “SKYSCRAPERS”, the first thing that comes in our mind is that it is a building which is tall. But in history, the word originally was a nautical term referring to a small triangular sail set above the sky-sail on a sailing ship. Skyscrapers are called Skyscrapers because they’re tall enough to scrape the sky (Talking big Na??).

The main obstacle in building upward is the downward pull of gravity. To make a tower that is “multiple-people high,” you need more people on the bottom to support the weight of everybody above. There has to be more ma­terial at the bottom to support the combined weight of all the material above. Every time you add a new vertical layer, the total force on every point below that layer increases. So, there was a real test of knowledge for the civil engineers and it required toughest of an engi­neer’s mettle to build a skyscraper.

In normal buildings you have to keep thickening the lower walls as you build new upper floors. After you reach a certain height, this is highly impractical. If there’s almost no room on the lower floors, what’s the point in making a tall building? Using this technology, people didn’t construct many buildings more than 10 storeys. Mostly in skyscrapers, instead of bricks, steel beams are used.

The main technological advance­ment that made skyscrapers possible was the development of mass iron and steel pro­duction. Relatively lightweight metal beams could support much more weight than the solid brick walls in older buildings, while tak­ing up a fraction of the space. With the advent of the Bessemer process, the first efficient method for mass steel production, architects moved away from iron. Steel, which is even lighter and stronger than iron, made it possi­ble to build even taller buildings. As skyscrap­ers became taller and lighter, they had trouble with wind and began to sway about two feet.

Engineers came up with new solu­tions, first installing diagonally braced steel trusses between central elevator shafts to cre­ate a stronger core, and then moving most of the beams and columns to the outside edge of the walls in order to make a stiff tube. Another solution in 1970s named tuned mass dumper was developed in which a giant concrete block or weight, mounted with springs and shock absorbers on a lubricated plate, designed like a pendulum to move in one direction when a computer senses the structure has begun to move in the other, in order to counterbalance the motion.

The famous skyscrapers are namely ”Eif­fel tower in Paris ”,”Petronas tower in kuala lampur”, “Chicago’s Sears Tower” “Taipei 101 in taipei” which was ranked as the world’s tallest building when it was topped out in 2003, but lost the title in 2010 to the Burj Khalifa (formerly called the Burj Dubai) .




Nikhar Pandya

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