Elevating Stability: The Jeddah Flagpole Project
In 2013, Flow Engineering embarked on a significant endeavor. They were chosen to plan, design, deliver, and install three Tuned Mass Dampers (TMD) systems for the world’s tallest flagpole, a record held until December 26, 2021. This towering flagpole, standing in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, reaches an impressive 170 meters in height and carries a weight of approximately 500,000 kilograms. It gently narrows from a base diameter of 4.1 meters to a slender 2 meters at its top, showcasing a smart engineering design with both practical and technical advantages.
An enormous flag, measuring 60 meters in length and 30 meters in width, and weighing 515 kilograms, gracefully waves in the wind. To maintain stability and counteract vibrations caused by air currents (vortex shedding), engineers at Flow Engineering strategically placed three tuned mass damper systems. These systems, together weighing 11,000 kilograms, effectively damping the flagpole’s oscillations. The initial two dampers are positioned in the upper section to address the primary mode of swaying at 0.2 Hz and the subsequent mode at 0.74 Hz. A third damper, located 125 meters high, mitigates the third mode at 1.8 Hz.
To address these vibrations during construction, engineers at Flow Engineering devised a temporary solution using a temporary TMD. This approach aimed to tackle potential shaking due to air currents before installing the final TMD sections. The temporary TMD was introduced starting from section 5 and progressively moved upward through the sections using a crane. This process was repeated until it reached the top. This temporary solution played a crucial role in ensuring the flagpole’s stability during construction.
Flow Engineering’s contribution is a clear example of innovative problem-solving in the field of stabilizing structures. By thoughtfully integrating both permanent and temporary TMDs, they showcased exceptional engineering skills and a determined approach to overcoming challenges.
Marking an Impression: Flow Engineering’s Legacy
Through their involvement in the Jeddah Flagpole project, Flow Engineering has left an enduring impact in the realm of remarkable achievements. By effectively blending practical engineering with inventive thinking, they have etched their name in history.