As buildings climb higher and higher, new structural challenges often present themselves. Skyscrapers, especially in Asian cities, continue to reach new heights and break records despite rising on or near vulnerable fault lines. To combat potential structural failures caused by earthquakes and strong wind, various vibration control technologies can be instituted in a building.

Taipei 101's tuned mass damper, image by Someformofhuman via Wikimedia Commons

One of these is a device called a tuned mass damper. Frequently implemented in buildings, vehicles, and power transmission, the dampers are massive concrete or steel instruments that counteract sway and oscillation via springs, fluid or pendulums. The world's largest tuned mass damper is located near the top of Taipei 101, which was once the tallest building on the planet. The 660-tonne steel sphere is suspended by eight cables and is openly visible between floors 88 and 92. The damping effect can be further amplified with the use of magnets, which can be found inside the 632-metre Shanghai Tower

Taipei 101's tuned mass damper, image by Armand du Plessis via Wikimedia Commons

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