January 12, 2011

CETIM Creates Digital Model Of Eiffel Tower

Experts at the Technical Centre for Mechanical Industries (CETIM) in France have assembled a digital model of the Eiffel Tower in order to help those in charge of the landmark maintain its safety and durability in the years to come, the organization announced on Wednesday.

"How can the Eiffel Tower structures be protected against the wears of time and how can the safety and durability of this building which is still the most visited monument in the world be guaranteed?" CETIM officials pondered on the project's official website, adding that they had "built a dynamic model of our iron lady in order to help the managers of the SETE [the Eiffel Tower Operating Company] to assess this issue."

"The tool simulates the external stresses and the operating load and contributes to drafting the master maintenance plan," they added. "The digital model of the Eiffel Tower is a real decision-making tool that was performed in the scope of a partnership with Dekra Industrial and simulates the behavior of the structure depending on the loads applied thereon (effect of wind, snow, visitors, maintenance operations, modifications, etc.)."

A team of six engineers and technicians were assembled for the 14 month duration of the project, CETIM said on their website. The project first thoroughly analyzed the framework and general condition of the Eiffel Tower, determining that the landmark has held up well in the years following its construction as part of the 1889 universal fair.

According to CETIM, the Eiffel Tower was constructed from over 7,300 tons of metal framework, 2,500,000 rivets, and more than 18,000 steel components. Using that information, as well as a wire geometrical description of the structure, they were able to fashion a digital model that was used to evaluate all of the tower's structural elements, including the main structures of the floors as well as decorative surfaces, access ways, and more.

Each part of the tower was studied for the effects of wind and snow, as well as wear and tear due to visitor and staff traffic and other factors. The model, they say, makes it possible "to ensure the safety of the building" and also "offers the SETE the possibility of optimizing maintenance, preventing risks and extending the life of a monument which was only built to last for 20 years."

"We have applied the most demanding test standards currently set in Europe and have found that the tower is in excellent shape," Stephane Roussin, the individual in charge of structural safety SETE, told AFP reporter Laurent Banguet on Wednesday, adding that the model was designed to find the strong and weak points in the 1,000-plus foot tall tower.


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