Big cities are fast growing and a large amount of persons are expected to live in big buildings; to ensure the capability of hosting a large number of persons, the buildings are developing in a vertical direction, thus big towers are the preferred solution to satisfy the requirement.
The simulation of the effect of some atmospheric agents like wind and earthquakes may be very important to stabilize large infrastructures like these big towers. This simulation should be done in the very preliminary phases of design of the infrastructures, for two main reasons:
- The effect of vibration may represent a stress for the infrastructure, especially for high buildings like the towers in New York, and moreover the vibrational waves may present resonance, increasing the risk of damages in the long term.
- The people that are at the top floors of a high tower may perceive every vibration since it is increased at this higher level; this vibration will surely disturb all of the people inside the tower, resulting in a very uncomfortable living experience.
To simulate the vibrations of a tower, a new simulator has been introduced by the Thyssenkrupp Group (see Figure 1):
This solution has just been adopted inside the ONE World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, in New York:
The ONE World Trade Tower in New York (source: ONE World Trade Center)
Inside the test tower some electric motors are inserted to compensate for the vibrations, this solution opens the way to a massive utilization of vibrational sensors and actuators driven by some smart brain technology, who have to be able to manage the data from the sensors and to drive accordingly the electric motors for the compensation of vibrational stresses due to atmospheric external stresses.
The perfect solution is represented by electronic integrated MEMS, utilized as vibrational sensors, and the microcontrollers utilized as smart brains of the system (see Figure 3):
The recognized positions of ‘The LIS2HH12, an ultra-low-power high-performance 3-axis linear accelerometer belonging to the “pico” family, with a digital I2 C/SPI serial interface standard output.’ (Source www.st.com)
Moreover, this solution is compatible with the new smart city trend. A GPS module connected to the central database containing the vibrational data may communicate through a wireless network with the other big buildings inside the smart city. This may be very helpful, for example, for rescuers to detect an earthquake in some part of the city and then to send warning messages about the meteorological conditions around a big tower in another specific part of the smart city (see Figure 4):
The smart city offers the opportunity to interconnect the buildings in a bidirectional smart way. (Source inobeta.net)
Electronic technology applied to big infrastructures: a promising idea for the future of urban environments. What do you think of the potential of this solution?