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Airtech

Novel Carbon Fibre Tower is Raised

09 July 2004

A light, high strength composite developed by Brigham Young University scientists has been used to build and erect a 269-foot-high ""tilt-up"" tower.

IsoTruss Structures Inc. used an open field just west of Brigham City to assemble and erect the tower -- believed to be the tallest free-standing structure of its kind. It took two days to raise the carbon-fiber structure.

Bret Rasmussen, IsoTruss' director of finance, was relieved to report the tower - which draws its strength from both its unique composite and the hollow lattices of reinforcing pyramids that comprise its structure - would leave today by truck for delivery to an upstate New York energy company.

""This is what test setups are all about,"" Rasmussen said Wednesday. ""It took longer than we expected, but it taught us the importance of precision, and we learned a lot about how to ease actual installation in the future.""

IsoTruss licensed the composite, Pyramatrix, in April 2002 from BYU. It was at the LDS Church-owned school where professor David Jensen and his civil engineering student researchers created the product.

The company contends that strength, along with its lightness means communications and meteorological towers made of the material can rise significantly higher than existing steel or wood structures.

Traditionally, tilt-up towers - so called because they are assembled first then raised, or tilted into place - usually top out around 197 feet due to the weight of their materials. While the 269-foot tower is IsoTruss' tallest so far, the technology has the potential to product structures as high as 341 feet. The cost of the composite itself is claimed to be competitive with steel and other construction materials, but the real savings comes when weight- and time-related factors are included.






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