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Damper Baby to the Rescue!
By Roderick Eime
26 August 2011





He’s perfectly round, weighs 600 tons and lives in a hole 400 metres above street level. He has his own range of designer accessories and boutique. Meet ‘Damper Baby’, possibly one of the weirdest comic characters around.

 

I can just see the marketing huddle now. “How do we personalise a 600 tonne lump of metal?” “How do we communicate with visitors and children this fascinating engineering feat?”

“I know … Damper Baby!”

Now, in that inimitable Asian style, we have a singing, dancing, desperately cute, irresistibly huggable character who seamlessly morphs into keychains, T-shirts, fridge magnets and brightly coloured action figures.

Behind this comedic representation however is the real star attraction. Atop the world’s second largest building, Taipei 101, is the world’s largest ‘tuned mass damper’. Okay, what the heck is that?

Building what was briefly the world’s tallest building in a typhoon zone required some forethought. What happens when winds of over 200kmh blow against this massive structure? How do you compensate for the sway developed by such forces? Damper Baby to the rescue!

For the technically minded, the damper is suspended by massive cables between the 88th and 92nd floors and counter-sways against the huge building’s motion, offsetting any harmful oscillation that could damage the structure – or worse. The big test came in October 2007 when Category 4 Typhoon Krosa lashed the Taiwanese capital with gusts up to 200kmh. (See the video of damper in action on the website)

So don’t knock Damper Baby, he’s already saved Taipei!

Taipei 101 website:
www.taipei-101.com.tw

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Keywords: See, Taipei


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