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Carbon fiber strings make Japanese office building earthquake resistant

Seismic Design

Carbon fiber strings make Japanese office building earthquake resistant

Kengo Kuma developed the rods, which are stronger and lighter than iron.

By Mike Chamernik, Associate Editor | April 20, 2016

Photo: screenshot from YouTube video

Ishikawa, Japan, has experienced eight earthquakes over the past year. The constant rumblings have building owners seeking unconventional solutions.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma found one for the former head office of fabric manufacturer Komatsu Seiren. The three-story building has been covered with Cabkoma Strand Rods, which are 9 mm-wide strings made of a thermoplastic carbon fiber composite.

As Endgadget explains, the rods make it appear that spiderwebs completely surround the building. The rods are tied to the roof and anchored to the ground, ensuring that when an earthquake hits, the entire structure will sway together and not crumble.

According to Kengo Kuma, the strings are seven times stronger than iron wires, but only a fraction of the weight. A 160-meter-long coil weighs just 26 lbs.


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