Skip to comments.New material enables 1,000-meter super-skyscrapers
Posted on 06/18/2013 12:15:36 PM PDT by ShadowAce
A Finnish company says that it has solved a problem that has vexed the designers of ultra-tall skyscrapers such as the 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai or the 509-meter Taipei 101 in Taiwan and we'll pause for a moment to let you guess what that problem might be.
Ready? It's the fact that elevators are currently limited to a maximum travel distance of around 500 meters. The Burj Khalifa, in fact, has an elevator that holds the world record for the longest travel distance: 504m (1,654 feet).
And what's keeping elevators from exceeding that limit? Time for another pause for reflection, dear Reg reader. Okay, now give yourself a gold star if you identified the limiting factor as the weight of the steel cable, known in the elevator trade as the rope.
Kone, a global elevator and escalator company headquartered in Espoo, Finland, has introduced what it immodestly calls UltraRope, which it claims will enable skyscraper elevators to rise as high as 1,000 meters in a single trip.
Kone provides some rather staggering stats about steel rope versus its UltraRope. For example, at a building height of 500 meters and with an elevator large enough to hold two-dozen souls, the total mass in motion of a steel rope-hoisted lift system would be 29,000 kilograms. The same system equipped with UltraRope would total a mere 12,800 kilograms.
|There's a lot of heavy
lifting needed to lift a lift
That's impressive enough, but if you extend that building height to 800 meters, the steel-rope weight would increase to 108,600 kilograms, while the UltraRope-based lift system would rise only to 13,900 kilograms.
That weight savings would result in a 15 per cent reduction in energy consumption for a 500-meter elevator, Kone claims, and a 45 per cent reduction should your elevator ride be 800 meters.
What's more, Kone says that UltraRope will last "at least twice" as long as conventional steel rope, is highly resistant to wear and abrasion, and requires no lubrication.
UltraRope's secret? That versatile über-material carbon fiber; or, as Kone explains, "a carbon fiber core and a unique high-friction coating" and it's not revealing exactly what that "unique" coating is made of.
Kone also says that UltraRope is less susceptible to being affected by building sway caused by high winds because "carbon fiber resonates at a completely different frequency to steel and most other building materials." Since conventional steel-roped elevators sometimes need to be shut down when swaying affects them, score this one "advantage, UltraRope."
"The benefits of KONE UltraRope versus conventional elevator hoisting technologies are numerous and indisputable," says Kone president and CEO Matti Alahuhta.
Those benefits are going to be needed in the near future, seeing as how more than half of the Earth's seven-plus billion souls now live in cities and that urbanization is accelerating. This presents an eco-friendly opportunity for Kone, the company says, because "building upwards is seen as the sustainable urban solution."
There are more and more tall buildings being built, and the tallest are getting taller. "Nearly 600 buildings of 200 meters or more are currently under construction or planned to be built over the next few years, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat," says Kone, citing the organization that just wrapped up its "tall building event of the year" in London.
There are currently only three elevator-equipped structures in the world that top 500 meters the two mentioned above plus Toronto, Ontario's 553-meter CN Tower and only the Burj Khalifa has a 500-meter elevator. However, Kone notes that 20 more over-500 meter buildings are currently in the planning stages, and if UltraRope catches on you may be able to reach those new buildings' top floors without having to stop and switch into a second-stage elevator as you now need to do in many a tall building.
Now if they can only do something about that ear-popping pressure change. ®
Terrorists are salivating at the prospect.
Why don’t they build underground?................
” Terrorists are salivating at the prospect.”
One thing about FR.....you think of it?......somebody already posted it : )
Whether you build below or above ground, the elevator problem is the same.
I’d quibble a bit with the implied premise that changing elevators is such an absolute deal breaker. Speaking personally, I think I’d find it kind of a cool thing to do.
I just can’t quite imagine the conversation “Yeah - we could have built a building that was X meters but decided not to because it would have required passengers to change elevators.”
Your elevator is waiting...
Resident Evil comes to mind.
Who is John Galt?
the world is not better off from mega cities
they always require more public subsidies and public subsidized services to keep them livible
they concentrate power - potlitical and financial
they benefit bankers and real estate interests more than anyone else
they are unnecessary more as time goes on as technology keeps making dispersal of people and work less of a difficulty in getting work done
so, do I care that some Persian Gulf hereditary autocrat ruler will now commission the next testament to architectual penis envy? NO.
Who wants to spend that long in an elevator and not get a view?
Its not the changing, its the added cost per square foot for effective usable space.
Why don’t the engineers just use magnetic levitation for elevators?
Then they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.
Find a way to stack them somehow then. I’m not being funny - there’s got to be a way.
No thanks. They’re standing targets.
*Gets on the elevator in the lobby, and pushes the button for 995. Elevator stops on every floor due to some a*hole who pushed every button before he got out :)
The closer you get to the center of the earth, the lighter things are..............
Most elevators have four walls with graffiti.............
I think elevators are not all the issues. Utilities -water, power lines, air, fire suppression etc all converge at creating space demands the higher one goes.
Actually, it looks like it’s darker down there ... until you break through the mantle.
Then you won’t need an elevator. The magma will shoot you up....................
serious question: Why dont elevators have gears along the shaft, and an electric motor on the car itself? (no rope)
If you go deep enough to become noticeably lighter, you are going to have some more significant problems than weight.
Keeps the zombies out.............
“He provides some rather staggering stats about steel rope versus its UltraRope. For example, at a building height of 500 meters and with an elevator large enough to hold two-dozen souls, the total mass in motion of a steel rope-hoisted lift system would be 29,000 kilograms. The same system equipped with UltraRope would total a mere 12,800 kilograms.
.... but if you extend that building height to 800 meters, the steel-rope weight would increase to 108,600 kilograms, while the UltraRope-based lift system would rise only to 13,900 kilograms.”
12,800 kg for 500 meters is 25.6 kg/m.
An additional 1,100 kg for 300 more meters?
Now it’s 3.67 kg/m.
Why is “UltraRope” so much lighter per length measure after the first 500 meters upwards?
What am I missing here?
Gonna need a bigger air conditioner.................
Well sure. Of course. But the implied premise of the article was that it was max elevator height that was THE bottleneck.
I’ve wondered that myself.
You’re not taking into account the weight of the car and people, which is constant in both measures. The weight of the rope is the same, but as you string out the steel cable, there is more weight due to more cable.
The infrastructure/motors etc.
Ah, ok, thanks.
Don’t know, but I’ll bet it has something to do with regulations from a bureaucratic buffoon agency.
Not to mention dealing with fluid pressure from the exterior...
If I’m getting this, they could build taller skyscrapers today if they were willing to have two elevators—one from the first floor to 500 meters, and the second from 500 meters to the top. But, that would be too uncool a design, so it isn’t done, and has to await an improved, ultralight, high-tensile elevator rope that can do bottom to top in a single run.
I’ve been to the top of the Burj Khalifa.Not really the top...the highest public observation deck (above which are private apartments).It wasn’t nearly as impressive as was the roof deck of the WTC or the observation deck at the ESB.All you see from the Burj is a few other modern buildings and then sand.Lots and lots of sand!
A real answer to your first question:
Why Can’t We Start Building The World’s Deepest Building?
More expensive and less desirable.
Ooo Ooo! Algebra time
X = weight of rope
Y = weight of car
1.6X+Y=13900 (60% more length)
.6X = 1100
X = 1800 or so
which is 3.6 Kg/M
(Which seems more reasonable)
Keep in mind as the rope gets longer, it has to have more strength, so it has more material per meter.
I don’t know; I’d have thought the further you get from the earths core, the less the gravity so the lighter everything gets.
I think elevators usually use a counterweight, so that when the car goes up, the counterweight goes down. That way, only the weight of passengers is being lifted, not the weight of the car. This setup naturally puts the motor on the roof of the building.
More and different problems require more and different solutions.
“Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” Robert Heinlein........
I’ve been on the 55th floor of an office building....in the second bank of elevators...(only 825 ft.)
(and Sydney Tower, which I believe is 1000 ft.)
I have no interest in being in an office 3000 feet up!
Not for about 11.5 years now.
Over that distance, the quality of the graffiti should be better.....