China may be quick on the path to constructing the world's newest tallest building ever, but should they succeed, their reign is probably going to be fairly short-lived—and all because of an elevator. More specifically, an elevator that can travel up to 1000 meters—two times higher than any built before it.
Developed by Finnish manufacturer KONE, a new hoisting technology called UltraRope makes these previously unfathomable heights possible. While most modern elevator systems employ steel rope, UltraRope consists of a carbon fiber core (making it incredibly light) surrounded by high-friction coating. Because this new rope is so light, not only does it cut down on energy consumption, but it also reduces the weight of virtually every moving component: the hoisting ropes, compensating ropes, counterweight, elevator car, and even the passenger load itself.
But the benefits don't just revolve around weight, according to KONE, "Carbon fiber resonates at a completely different frequency to steel and most other building materials." This minimizes elevator delays that are otherwise caused by a building's natural sway. Plus, the rope can last twice as long and doesn't require any lubrication for maintenance.
Currently, only four buildings in the entire world go over the 500 meter mark with plans for 20 more to be built in the upcoming years. With the possibilities of UltraRope, though, that number could soon skyrocket as high as the buildings themselves. [Arch Daily]