Font Size:
  • L
  • M
  • S

Study on Taipei 101 frequency could help Taiwan on building safety

Researchers have concluded a study on how weather conditions and human activity influence Taipei 101's frequencies and vibrations, and feel that it will enhance methods of monitoring building safety in Taiwan.

National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) Department of Earth Sciences Ph.D. student Chen Yao-chieh (陳耀傑) and his team drew their conclusions after analyzing data from seismometers in Taipei 101 and meteorological data from the Xinyi weather station 1 kilometer away.

The study found that Taipei 101 has a higher frequency when the outside atmospheric temperature goes up, and a lower frequency when the wind blows stronger, according to a statement on the study's results issued by NTNU on Monday.

The team also observed, based on hourly data, that the more human activity in the building, the more vibrations would be detected through the seismometers, the statement said.

Chen told CNA on Monday that the "frequency" metric was significant because it is an important indicator of building safety.

Each building has its own frequency of vibration at different stages of its life span. New buildings, for example, have different frequencies than buildings that have been used for decades, he said.

Changes in frequency of a building due to material decay or structural renovation, which are usually observed through a process called "structural health monitoring," could potentially affect its safety.

Though data for the study was collected from 2010 to the present, it was based on data collected from 2014 because the quality and continuity of the project's data was generally hampered by equipment repairs and imperfect internet connections.

After reviewing what they had collected, Chen felt 2014 would be the best data for the study's purposes, the NTNU statement said.

In the statement, Chen said the study not only has implications for Taipei 101 and other skyscrappers in the city, but also for all the buildings and bridges in Taiwan, which is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons.

Though sensors have been attached to some bridges and buildings to gather data, the data that has been collected around Taiwan has not been continuous or even suitable for long-term purposes, Chen said, in part because the high cost of the equipment and manpower.

Chen suggested that Taiwan should start with monitoring weak, old buildings or those believed to be unsafe and later reach out to more communities to enhance data-gathering methods.

In addition to Chen, the research team that conducted the Taipei 101 study consisted of Kate Chen (陳卉瑄), also with NTNU's Department of Earth Sciences, and Huang Bor‐shouh (黃柏壽), who is with Academia Sinica's Institute of Earth Sciences, the statement said.

Their study was the cover story in the April edition of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA), an American journal for earthquake studies. (CNA By Phoenix Hsu and Oscar Wu)