Eiffel Tower Femur

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Analogies: Eiffel Tower & the Femur

Eiffel Tower


I) Background/ Basic Mechanisms:

c:\users\jacoblck\desktop\analogy pictures\eiffel tower 2.0.jpg

Figure : Eiffel Tower Structure

- Eiffel tower is a 1,063 feet (324 m)

-It was designed by Gustave to optimize the amount of iron to provide maximum strength.

-It was designed to withstand tension and compression forces induced onto the tower by the environment (such as wind forces)

I) Background/ Basic Mechanisms:


Figure : Femoral Head of the Femur

-Femur is the thigh bone

- It is the strongest and longest part of the human skeletal system.

-It supports most of the varying forces transmitted onto the hip, which sometimes can be more than 6 time one’s body weight.

- It consists of a femoral head, which is an off-centered ball that fits into the hip socket.

- In the femur, especially the head, there are many trabeculae (bone fibers).

-These bone fibers are crisscrossed in layers in a specific order to take compression and tension.

II) Similarities

-Both are intricate designs that are able to support maximal amounts of forces using little amounts of materials.

-Both have structures and support systems according to its varying load: (Struts and braces in the Eiffel Tower; Trabeculae in the femur)

- Materials in the structures, both, crisscrossed and have different layers.


Figure : Struts and Bases of the Eiffel Figure 4: Trabeculae in the Femur

- In figure 5, the Femoral head can be seen as a bunch of inverted Eiffel Towers lined up around its cortical bone. Hence, we can see that the mechanical properties are similar.

http://www.ce.jhu.edu/perspectives/studies/eiffel%20tower%20files/et_internal%20forces_files/image018.jpglines of trabeculae in the head of the femur

Figure 5:Comparison between the Femoral head and the Eiffel Tower

III) Possible Design Concepts

-The Designed concepts from these analogies are…

(Conservation of materials, and the Strength of Structures)

-Below are trabeculae inspired building design examples:


Figure 6: The meshwork in the trabeculae towers is able to support buildings while providing an adequate amount of space ratio.


Figure 6: Trabeculae tower

Analogical Reasoning:


The Eiffel tower was built using struts and braces to withstand the tension and compression caused by the environment (ex. Wind forces).


The femur can support a great amount of tension and compression forces by its trabeculae.



Since the femur and the Eiffel tower are capable of withstanding great amounts of compression and tension, struts and braces are like the trabeculae; hence, the structure of the Eiffel Tower and the Femur are analogous.

Main Websites:

  • http://www.discoveryofdesign.com/id13.html

  • http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n4/architects

Corresponding Websites:

  • http://www.gla.ac.uk/ibls/US/fab/tutorial/generic/bone2.html

  • http://education.yahoo.com/reference/gray/subjects/subject/59

  • http://www.scia-online.com/eNews/en/eNewsOkt05_EN.html

Design Concept Ideas:

  • http://www.evolo.us/architecture/trabeculae-re-imagining-the-office-building/

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