Posted by Kevin Matthews on September 19, 2002 at 14:14:12:
In Reply to: Re: Future High Rise Design: More Concrete posted by Paul Malo on September 19, 2002 at 10:13:20:
Sorry, this is your crabby neighborhood fact-checker speaking...
The Eiffel Tower was not innovative structurally--it was simply big.
I can't really support this statement. Eiffel was a pioneer in the development of truss structures for bridges, and he applied those successes to the vertical tower with brilliant rapidity, creating le Tour Eiffel within a generation or so of the first significant iron truss structures.
This rapid evolution in structural design was enabled by the growing ability of iron smelters to produce more wrought iron and mild steel, capable of sustaining high tensile loading. The previous generation of iron structures were made with cast iron, which is brittle (like stone masonry), and therefore can't handle the tensile loads inherent in trusses.
It is true that Medieval wood builders intuitively used corner bracing, as seen in 'half-timbered' facades. But their braces, even in large roof structures, generally did not form true corner-to-corner diagonals, acting rather like the "knees" of wooden ships.
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