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Steel- a Newand Traditional Material for Bui/ding - Dubina & Ungureanu (eds) @ 2006 Taylor
Steel- a Newand
Traditional Material for Bui/ding - Dubina & Ungureanu (eds)
@ 2006
Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 0-415-40817-2
Philosophy of the design of the Eiffel tower J.Rondal University oj Liege, Belgium ABSTRACT: The
Philosophy of the design of the Eiffel tower
J.Rondal
University oj Liege, Belgium
ABSTRACT:
The aim of the paper is to show how engineers~more than one century ago, have been able to
desígnand to build atowerwith aheight of a1mosttwo times tbe height oftbe highest building existing attbat time.
I GUSTAVEALEXANDREEIFFEL- THE
MAN, THE ENGINEER
Gustave Alexandre EIFFEL is boro on 15 December
1832~in Dijon, BUrgundy, France. His family was of
a Germanic origin witb tbe name "Boenickhausen -
Eiffel" but had lived in France for well over a century
before bis birth. His fatber was an officer in the armed
forces ofNapoléon 1.
After a baccalaureate at tbe Lycée Royal de Lyon,
he was sentto Paris by bis father to prepare for l'Ecole
polytechniquebut be did not succeedat the entry
examination. He was acceptedby I 'Ecole Centrale des
Arts et Manufactures where be graduated in 1855 as
an averagestudent, no more.
. At tbe beginningof his career,EIFFEL was
employed by a construction company and was soon in
chargeofthe construction
of a 500 In rai1waybridge
in
Bordeaux (France). Prom 1855 to 1867, EIFFEL was
a11engineerwboworkedhardlyfor ms firm and,in
1867, he decided to launch ms oWn company.
Between 1867 andthe building ofthe tower in 1889,
he designedand bui1tinteresting bridges and buildings
in a lot of countries as, for example, Egypt, Russia,
Vietnam, Soutb and North America, Hringary, Greece,
Figure 1.
Patent for a high tower N° 164364 on September
Portugal,
andFrance, of course. From a long list of
18, 1884.
references, one can mention for example:
. tbe Maria-Pía bridge over tbe Douro river at Porto
(portugal), buHt by tbe cantilever method, 1877;
.
tbe Garabít Viaduct (France). with a totallength
of
564 m, an arch of
165m and píles up to 82 m, 1879;
.
"tbe frame for the Statue of Liberty of Bertholdi in
NewYork,1881;
. tbe floating
dome of
tbe observatory
in
Nice
(France),1885.
.
This inventionwasfaci1itatingtheconstructionof a
towergreaterthan300min heightby takingthe shear
not by X bracings,aspreviouslydone,but by inclin-
ing the chordso• the tower.This patentandothershe
hadpreviouslyobtainedfor canallocksof greatheight
enabledbim to undertakesimultaneouslytwo major
engineeringworks:
.
In 1884, EIFFEL and two ofhis collaborators took
out a patent for a high tower "NO 164364 on September
18, 1884to Gustave EIFFEL, Emile NOUGUIER
and
"La Tom de 300 metres", for the 1889exposition
to celebratethe 100th anniversaryo• the French
revolution,and
.
The locks•or
the PanamaCana1.
Maurice KOECHLIN"
(Fig. 1).
635
Figure2. First project by Eoùle NOUGIER and Maurice KOECHLIN (1884). 2 THE FIRST PROJECTS The
Figure2. First project by Eoùle NOUGIER and Maurice KOECHLIN (1884).
Figure2.
First project by Eoùle NOUGIER and Maurice
KOECHLIN (1884).
2 THE FIRST PROJECTS
2 THE FIRST PROJECTS
The decade1880-1890may be consideredas one of tbe most successful:inthe storyof steelstructures.In addition to the
The decade1880-1890may be consideredas one of
tbe most successful:inthe storyof steelstructures.In
addition to the variousaccomplishmentsby EIFFEL
himself,onemustmentiontbeBrooklyn bridge(1883)
andthe Firth ofForth bridge (1890).
Someyears ago, in 1874, at th~ occasionof an
exposition in Philadelphia,a project for a tower of
one tbousandfeet was proposedby two Am.erican
engineers,CLARKE and REEVES, but without any
success.
In 1884, a project for a' tower of 300m for the
celebrationof the 100th anniversaryof tbe French
revolution was presentedto EIFFEL by two of ms
main collaborators; Emile NOUGUlER and Mau-
rice KOECHLIN, an engineer graduatedftom tbe
Polytechnic of Ziirich after studies with Professor
CULMANN (Fig. 2).
This project was consideredtoo "structura1" by
EIFFEL andmodified by theArchitectSAUVESTRE,
anothercollaboratorofEIFFEL. A syntbesisoftbe two
projects led (maily to the well-known versionof
the

tower(Fig. 3). With a heightof aJmosttwo timesthe height of the highestmomunentexisting at that time - the granite obelisk Ï1 Washington,169m - thetowerredeemed the Frenchfrom the stigmaof the capitulationto the Germansin 1870. The project was criticized by nwneroUsartists but wasbui!t without any fata1ities,not withstandingthe

but wasbui!t without any fata1ities,not withstandingthe Figure 3/ Final project. siteconditionsat that time (Figs.4
but wasbui!t without any fata1ities,not withstandingthe Figure 3/ Final project. siteconditionsat that time (Figs.4
but wasbui!t without any fata1ities,not withstandingthe Figure 3/ Final project. siteconditionsat that time (Figs.4
Figure 3/ Final project.
Figure 3/
Final project.
siteconditionsat that time (Figs.4 and5), completed ontimeandattracted2.000.000visitorsin itsfirstyear.
siteconditionsat that time (Figs.4 and5), completed
ontimeandattracted2.000.000visitorsin itsfirstyear.
3 TIIE DESIGN OFTHE TOWER
3 TIIE DESIGN OFTHE TOWER
The designof the tower,with all the ca1culationsand drawings, is given in a wonderful two-volumes in-folio
The designof the tower,with all the ca1culationsand
drawings, is given in a wonderful two-volumes in-folio
book pubHshedin 1900 (Eiffel, 1900).
The designis base~of course,onthelinearelastic- ity andthestructuraltheoryusedto calculateforcesin themembersis basedon
The designis base~of course,onthelinearelastic-
ity andthestructuraltheoryusedto calculateforcesin
themembersis basedon thesimplestaticsof statically
determinatesystemsandgraphicalmethods.Most of
thebarswereboxbarsmadeby four anglesconnected
by smalltrussescomposedof anglesorflats.Theywere
thusrivetedbuilt-up memberswith atotalofI.050.846
rivets.
The book doesn't give results of tensile tests of
the material usedwhich was rolled iron but onecan
considerthat the ultimate stresswasabout300MPa.
636
636
~
~
A safetycoefficient o• at least2.5on theultimateten- sile strengthhasbeenusedby EIFFEL but without any justification.
A safetycoefficient o• at least2.5on theultimateten-
sile strengthhasbeenusedby EIFFEL but without any
justification.
Tbeloadsthat areconsideredfor tbedesignarethe
deadweight,thewind andtemperaturevariatioDS.It is
assumedthat the deadweightcanbe combinedeither
to thewind effectsorto tbetemperaturevariations.Tbe
wind effectswereevaluatedonbaseoftwo hypotheses:
. A wind pressureof 2.000N/nr constanttiU the2nd floor andthanvarying linearly to 4.000N/m2 atthe top; .
.
A wind pressureof 2.000N/nr constanttiU the2nd
floor andthanvarying linearly to 4.000N/m2 atthe
top;
.
varying linearly to 3.000N/m2at the top.

A wind pressureof 1.000N/m2 at the basement

For the temperature,EIFFEL was consideringtbc range-30°C/+30°C unifonn throughoutthe tower. All the structura!
For the temperature,EIFFEL was consideringtbc
range-30°C/+30°C unifonn throughoutthe tower.
All the structura! elementsare compactsectíons
with a slendernesslessthan 45 for the chordsand40
for thebracingmembers.Forthesereasons,aUtbebm
weredesignedby using the simple fonnula R = NIA
in tensionandcompressionwith anallowablestressof
110MPa in tbematerial(rolled iron).
With regardsto modemrecommendatíonsonbuck-
ling. this hypotbesisleadsto an overestimationof tbe
strengthof 10%approximately.
Figure4. On site conditions. 4 CONCLUSIONS It is bard to conclude a paper on a
Figure4.
On site conditions.
4
CONCLUSIONS
It is bard to conclude a paper on a 80exceptiona! work
without someindications on the general characteristics
of the tower:
.
The exactheight of the lastplatfonn is of 300,51m
(atpresenttime, tbeheightup to theT.\!:antennais
of320,76m);
.
Tbetota!weightoftheironparts isof8.564.816kg;
.
The towerhasbeenbui1tbetweenJanuary28. 1887
andMay 6,1889 with atotal of114,558 workdays;
.
And, fina1ly, tbc tota! coast of tbe tower includ-
ing lifts was,exactly,of7 .393.304.97Frenchfrancs
which correspondsapproximatelyto 15mmionsof
actualUS dollars.
And, what if the Eiffet tower woutd be designed
today? Probably two or three times lighter, using high
strength 8too1.Regarding the duration of the construc-
tion, I am not surethat jt would be faster today because
ofthe high degree ofprefabrication
units used by Eif-
fet. But it is not possible to give a clear answer to this
question becausetbe imagination of modem architects
i8 endlessand tbe designtoo18arenow 80sophisticated
that practica1ly all is close to be possible.
REFERENCES
Figure S.
On site conditions.
BUfel, O., 1900.La tour de trois cent metres.Lemercier,
Vol. 1 and2, In folio, Paris.
637