A tour of 4.8 km to de-pollute the atmosphere

The american company Arconic has designed a skyscraper as high as the Mont-Blanc, whose façade material would be able to attach to and degrade certain air pollutants. But its construction, by 3D printing, of course – is not considered before… 2062. Zoom.
While the kilometre vertical is not yet reached in the building – the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah (saudi Arabia) will not be completed until 2019 – some project already further. Or more high. The american firm Arconic (formerly Alcoa, a specialist in the aluminium) has unveiled a crazy idea : to build a tower 4.8 km of height, which is three times more than the “Mile High Tower” dear to the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
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Incorporating all his expertise of building materials – Alcoa has participated in the construction of the Empire State Building – the company imagines using proven technologies or in development, such as 3D printing. Sherri McCleary, a specialist in Materials for Arconic, explains to Business Insider : “We try to maximize the materials that can be 3D printed to give more opportunities for designers and architects“. The american company is already working on super-alloys in powder form, incorporating nickel and titanium, can be agglomerated elements that are resistant to very high stresses, whether thermal or mechanical. The emirate of Dubai, famous for its skyline bristling with skyscrapers, already foresees that 3D printing will be a quarter of its projects by 2030.


A technology showcase


Another property of the tower Arconic : the de-pollution of the atmosphere. Thanks to its huge exchange surface, it could act as an “artificial lung”, filtering out and capturing some compounds, such as oxides of nitrogen. The coating of the tower, containing titanium dioxide, to act in the presence of light to activate a reaction of photocatalyst on a very large scale. The american society puts forward his solution EcoClean. The materials specialist continues : “EcoClean offers a pleasing aesthetic and (…) of environmental benefits by reducing pollution surrounding“. The process is already well known, since the titanium dioxide is already used by many other companies. The japanese Toto, which produces the ceramic cleanup, estimated, for example, that 1,000 m2 of coating Organic Self Cleaning has a capacity of air purification equivalent to a forest the size of a football field, “which is the elimination of the nitrogen oxides emitted by 74 cars for 24 hours“. The tower Arconic could therefore remediate a portion of the traffic (and air) that is generated by… the tourists who come from around the world to admire this masterpiece of engineering.
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But the properties “miracle” of the titanium dioxide are not without consideration. Some researchers have questioned the health impact of nanoparticles and on their use unreasoning in construction materials. The vision of the future proposed by Arconic also wonders about the safety of such a building (facing the air traffic or the threat of terrorism), the travel time in elevators, and on the economic relevance of a building of the height of Mont Blanc. Be reassured soon : this super-tower is only a pretext for the presentation of the know-how of the company in the framework of a communication campaign with reference to the jetsons did, this family of the future cartoon.


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