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Engineering Materials
Slideshow: Architects Make Curves With Carbon Composites
5/3/2013

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Composites are helping architects to make highly unusual curved and freeform shapes in large buildings in the Middle East, such as the Sidra Hospital under construction in Qatar on the Arabian peninsula. Roofing panels up to 15m to 25m (49 ft to 82 ft) long have been made with the material.   (Source: Affan Innovative Structures)
Composites are helping architects to make highly unusual curved and freeform shapes in large buildings in the Middle East, such as the Sidra Hospital under construction in Qatar on the Arabian peninsula. Roofing panels up to 15m to 25m (49 ft to 82 ft) long have been made with the material.
(Source: Affan Innovative Structures)

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Rob Spiegel
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Outside the building box
Rob Spiegel   5/3/2013 9:26:31 AM
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How refreshing, Ann, to see these currvy buildings. I'd love to see more of this in the U.S. Is there any reason these materials are being used for buildings outside the U.S.? Is it because we're not building a lot of buildings these days

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Outside the building box
Cabe Atwell   5/3/2013 3:09:41 PM
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It is a fresh look. It's a shame it will be a dated look in the near future. Architects are renowned for pushing design boundaries. I wish other industries would attempt the same innovation.

C

Charles Murray
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Re: Outside the building box
Charles Murray   5/3/2013 6:00:54 PM
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Even though these materials are being used in non-load-bearing applications, they must have considerable flexural strength. The structure in the secon slide looks like it would be subject to som high wind loading.

Greg M. Jung
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Economics of new material
Greg M. Jung   5/3/2013 11:25:53 PM
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From the last paragraph it implies that Carbon Composites are still much more expensive than traditional steel or concrete processes.  Would this factor be 2X or more?  If so, then in the near future Carbon Composite techniques will still be limited to specialty applications where steel or concrete can't be used (unless a customer in a very wealthy location like Dubai wants to make a aesthetic statement and money is not the primary decision criteria).

Debera Harward
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Re: Economics of new material
Debera Harward   5/5/2013 6:43:18 AM
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Greg M Jung, you are correct their are still certain factors that keep us away from carbon fibre first one is the cost factor secondly there exist reliability issues.What if the crack or some damage occurs on particular object will it be repairable?

Elizabeth M
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Re: Outside the building box
Elizabeth M   5/6/2013 9:49:07 AM
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This is really cool to see, Ann. These buildings are much sexier than blocky buildings and it's interesting the composites are helping to make it possible. I was just in Sevilla, Spain, over the weekend and saw a similarly curved building that represents cutting-edge architecture for that city. (It really stood out from the other buildings in the city, which as you can imagine are quite old and ornate.) I don't know much about it but maybe now I will research it and find out if composites were used there, too. Maybe I missed it in the story, but does climate have anything to do with the use of composites? The climate in Sevilla is very dry and hot generally, just like the Middle East.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Outside the building box
Ann R. Thryft   5/6/2013 2:01:36 PM
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I agree Rob, this is a very fun app for carbon composites. Good question about US use of composites in architecture. Does anyone know the answer?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Outside the building box
Ann R. Thryft   5/6/2013 2:02:18 PM
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Thanks, Cabe. Of course, fashion changes always make buildings look outdated sooner or later; remember all those "futuristic" styles of the 50s in industrial design, cars, and buildings?



Rob Spiegel
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Re: Outside the building box
Rob Spiegel   5/6/2013 6:04:34 PM
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Yes, that occurred to me as well, Chuck. Even if the composites don't bear weight, they have weight of their own they need to support. One would guess this has been taken into consideration, including wind stress.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Outside the building box
Rob Spiegel   5/6/2013 6:42:17 PM
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Yes, these curvy building are a relief from the typical blocks. I'm curious about whether the insides of the building are also curvy or whether what we're seeing is mostly a facade.

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