The videos of swaying skyscrapers in Tokyo during the powerful earthquake in 2011 that hit off the coast of Japan are absolutely terrifying
. Thanks to strict building codes
and the location of the earthquake's epicenter, the skyscrapers were spared.
But if Tokyo were to take a direct hit from a high-magnitude earthquake, the scene could be much worse.
There are many older skyscrapers that don't have earthquake-resistant technology that's required to be built into new skyscrapers.
That's where the innovation comes in. Real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan and Kajima Corp., a construction and engineering company, are teaming up to install six 300-ton steel pendulums, known as "tuned mass dampers," on the roof of the Shinjuku Mitsui building, a 55-story skyscraper built in 1974, instead of tearing it down and building a new tower. The idea is that the massive pendulums will counteract the massive seismic waves during an earthquake and keep the building upright. As Next City reports
, the technology is being used in new buildings but isn't common as a retrofit to older buildings. But it could be extremely effective at dampening the blow of a powerful earthquake with an epicenter near Tokyo, according to Next City:
Tuned mass dampers have a proven efficacy for reducing vibrations on bridges and even spacecraft, but buildings weren’t outfitted with them until relatively recently. According to a 2013 study by Masashi Yamamoto and Takayuki Sone in the journal Structural Control and Health Monitoring, dampers on a 24-story building in Tokyo were shown to reduce the energy of an earthquake by 35 to 65 percent.
Photo: Flickr/shinnygogo and Kajima Corp.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com