Trick gravity. The leaning Leaning Tower of Pisa was able to rise by 4 centimeters
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Researchers believe that this is an excellent result for an 850-year-old “patient” with a slope of about 5 meters.
For decades, engineers from around the world have collectively tried to save the iconic bell tower, which has survived several earthquakes and swayed back and forth, writes Science Alert.
It is worth noting that the “patient” is not at all easy – an 850-year-old patient with a slope of about five meters and a settling of more than three meters – outwitting gravity in this case is not an easy task. But it seems that scientists still managed to do it.
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Not without the intervention of the best engineers on the planet, the Leaning Tower of Pisa still managed to win an unequal battle with gravity. This is evidenced by the latest indicators – over the past 21 years, the bell tower has managed not only not to fall, but also to rise by 4 centimeters.
The study was carried out by a group of geotechnical engineers with the financial support of the non-profit organization Opera Primaziale Pisana (O₽A ), which was set up to oversee construction work to preserve the historic site. According to an O₽A spokesperson, “the Leaning Tower of Pisa is in excellent health at the moment.”
The construction of the bell tower started in 1174. Literally a few years later, after the construction of only the first few tiers, it became obvious that something had gone wrong. The shallow foundation of the tower was built on an unstable foundation of clay and sand.
Engineers tried to remedy the situation along the way, making the upper floors higher on one side. But we see the result to this day. For many years after, engineers continued to fight gravity, sometimes only exacerbating the curvature. In the 1990s, the Leaning Tower of Pisa tilted 5.5 degrees to the south and scientists believed that it could no longer be saved – gravity would win and the bell tower would collapse.
Shortly thereafter, the tower was closed to visitors and a group of scientists, led by civil engineer Michele Yamiolkovski, set about saving it. Initially, they thought about pumping cement under the tower, then abandoned this idea and decided to stabilize the bell tower with 900 tons of lead weights. It seems to have worked, and in 2001 the stabilizations were completed – the tower leveled 40 centimeters, and the angle of inclination was 4 degrees, which, however, was still twice as much as in 1350 after construction.
B In 2013, researchers used 3D scanners to develop several digital reconstructions of the tower in order to develop options if the “patient” needed to be stabilized. Fortunately, according to Nunziante Scueglia, professor of geotechnics at the University of Pisa, the tower is now rocking weakly, oscillating on average about half a millimeter per year.
Scientists believe that nothing threatens the Leaning Tower of Pisa at the moment, at least in the next 300 years or more. Moreover, some research engineers are so optimistic that they believe that one day the Leaning Tower of Pisa may even level out.
It is also curious that the soil that initially put the Leaning Tower of Pisa in gravity, today, on the contrary, seems to be able to protect it from earthquakes, giving the structure a longer and less destructive period of vibration when swinging.