A Bracing Way To Gird Buildings Against Quakes

During the cold war, Taylor Devices Inc. in North Tonawanda, N.Y., developed shock absorbers to protect MX missiles in their silos, and other military gear, from the shock of nuclear explosions. With the State University of New York at Buffalo, the company is using the technology to protect buildings from earthquakes. When activated by a quake, the piston in each stainless steel absorber forces silicon oil through the device's internal passages at very high speed. This converts the mechanical energy to heat and dissipates it, says Taylor Devices President Douglas P. Taylor.

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