Re: Question Clarified

Ron Kean (
Tue, 20 Jul 1999 22:46:24 -0400

On Tue, 20 Jul 1999 17:04:51 -0700 "Gina Miller" <> writes:

>Could you help me out al little further? (here's the idea elaborated)
>This>structure would be just that, only devised to demonstrate the
>possible>height. It would not be a building, or have an elevator or
door. It
>would>just be the least amount of required materials to achieve maximum
>tall. Can>I have some answers on how high and how minimal of a structure
>be>built. If I were to build as far as is humanly possible, how high
>could I go>with the perfect circumference (as minimal as possible yet
>enough to>hold up).>Nanogirl

That is actually a lot like what they had in mind when they built the Eiffel Tower. It was partly intended to be a demonstration that steel could be used to build a very tall structure. They chose a nice round number, 300 meters, for its height. The structure did not have much utility, except as a landmark, observation platform, and later, as an elevated place for transmitting antennas.

You say that you want to use the least amount of material to achieve a maximum height. If you also want the cost to be reasonable, that would preclude the use of expensive materials. I assume you want the structure to not blow down in a strong wind. My guess would be that the maximum height practically possible for a steel tower which carries its own weight would be about the same whether or not guy wires are used. But if guy wires are used, the amount of steel required would be much less. My guess would be that the maximum practical height of a steel tower would be somewhere in the range of 5 to 10 thousand feet. It would be a slightly tapered open-frame structure with steel guy lines. The frame would suggest a tapering tubular surface. The most challenging weather condition for such a structure would be ice storms (freezing rain) which would cause ice to build up on the struts. Such a tower would probably have to be built in a climate zone warm enough that ice deposits would not occur.

Weather balloons can go as high as 100,000 feet. If we attached a tether to a large balloon, a balloon with enough lift to carry a 100,000 foot long tether, would that count?

Ron Kean




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