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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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William K.
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Re: Outside the building box
William K.   5/13/2013 9:02:23 PM
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Ann, social media, at least of the facebook kind, has already gotten old and become a worthless collection of features, as far as I am concerned. Really, it is more like "spewing data" as opposed to sharing information, and very little of communicating insights is done, from what I see. I would not miss it one speck if it were gone some morning.

The various online discussion groups are different by quite a bit, and I enjoy the physics papers weekly publication and discussions as well.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Outside the building box
Rob Spiegel   5/13/2013 1:09:10 PM
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Ah, Chicago still feels warm to me, Cabe. But I know what you mean about steel. I think composites are still a mystery. We don't know yet whether they're going to catch on and we don't know the full range of applications we'll see with composites. It will be interesting.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Curvy buildings, today's fad application
Ann R. Thryft   5/13/2013 12:30:04 PM
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William, corrosion usually refers to what happens when metal breaks down. Composites can certainly break down, but "corrosion" is not the correct term. They delaminate, fragment, and suffer environmental stress cracking, as we've discussed here:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=238056
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=236816
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1365&doc_id=238200



Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Outside the building box
Ann R. Thryft   5/13/2013 12:29:24 PM
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Cabe, everything we make or build becomes dated eventually. Just wait til hip-hop and social media become passe. If we live long enough, we get to see this happen several times.

William K.
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Re: Curvy buildings, today's fad application
William K.   5/12/2013 7:04:38 PM
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Ann, actually, from what I have read, composites do corrode, but differently from metal. 

The one other thing is that typically buildings are kept around a lot longer than aircraft or racecars, so that what happens after 30 years of weather matters on a building, while the race car is obsolete and the airplane is probably scrapped, or sold to the minor leagues.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Outside the building box
Cabe Atwell   5/10/2013 4:08:04 PM
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Glad to see the reduction of wood use in architecture. But, I think that is a "no-brainer." A cow in a barn destroyed the wooden version of Chicago. Now, it's all rusty steel. Not a single fire since. Though, the city now has a cold feel to it.

C

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Outside the building box
Cabe Atwell   5/10/2013 4:05:46 PM
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Ann,

I used to live in a vision of the future building, it seems. Designed in the 60s, it is so dated now.

C

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Outside the building box
Ann R. Thryft   5/9/2013 5:31:08 PM
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Rob, I can't speak to others' tastes, but to me composites are no substitute for fine wood. I suspect they're actually cheaper than fine wood, though.



Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Curvy buildings, today's fad application
Ann R. Thryft   5/9/2013 5:29:49 PM
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William, I had the same question about damage, but I don't see why the wear problems would be much worse than what aircraft with carbon composite skins experience; in fact, they're probably not nearly as severe, since these buildings aren't speeding through the air and storms of hail, dust, and rain like planes do. Composites, of course, don't corrode like metals do.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Outside the building box
Rob Spiegel   5/9/2013 3:53:43 PM
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Ann, is the cost of fine wood the reason builders are using composites for their curvy buildings? I wonder if the availability of composites will free up architects to alter their designs.

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