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[TowerTalk] Universal Freestanding Tower

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Universal Freestanding Tower
From: (Steve Maki)
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2002 19:32:43 -0500
AA4LR wrote:

>>There is a big difference between "don't exceed the manufacturers
>>ratings" and "buy one heavier than you need". The problem with
>>aluminum is that it work hardens. If you load it near it's initial
>>max ratings, wind gusts over the years WILL cause it to fatigue and
>>de-rate, and eventually fail.

>Gosh, you're right, that's why aluminum airplanes are life-rated to only 
>so many flights or years. Right?
>I'm sure many aircraft owners are still waiting for their 50+ year old 
>airplanes to "work harden."
>Without proper maintainence, any structure will fail, even steel ones. 
>Aluminum towers, properly loaded and properly maintained, should last 
>just as long as aluminum aircraft.

Did I say that aluminum doesn't have good uses?

Airplanes are obviously well engineered. The history of aluminum
towers - judging by how many of them that have ended up laying
on the ground - is not so good. Things that fly need a high strength
to weight ratio, which aluminum provides. Cost is a secondary

Most prospective tower owners, especially in the commercial
market, consider strength & longevity vs cost to be more important
than weight issues. Therefore, virtually all commercial towers
are steel. 

There's nothing wrong with a well engineered aluminum tower, skyscraper,
suspension bridge, or freighter - except cost.

Steve K8LX

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