You might just see a huge steel ball, but this tuned mass damper is so much more.
This 728 tons steel pendulum is installed in one of the world’s tallest buildings, the taipei 101 in Taiwan. It helps stabilize the building in case of strong winds and earthquakes, through simple mechanics, when the building moves in a direction it swings in the opposite direction reducing movement by 40%. You can understand how it works by looking at the small GIF image.
It cost #4 million to install the huge damper in the skyscraper but architects and engineers said it had to be done. It spans across 4 of the building’s stories and it was assembled on site because it couldn’t be lifted by a crane, due to its enormous weight.
Here’s a video of the damper in action, on May 12th, when a horrific earthquake hit one of China’s provinces and the tremors reached as gar as Taipei. As the building started to shake, people ran towards the center to see the damper in action, it did it’s job.