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Company News, 2008-12-18, 10:00 AM

Protection for St. Mark’s Campanile: Material from ThyssenKrupp Titanium to save Venice landmark

A Venice landmark, St. Mark’s Campanile, is in danger. Its foundation is built on wood piles which in the course of time have been weakened by the saltwater. The structure has also come under attack from increasing floods due to rising sea levels. This could lead to cracks and cause the bell tower to tilt. Now titanium is to be used to repair and save this major attraction. ThyssenKrupp Titanium in Terni has received a contract to supply twelve tons of the material to provide long-term protection for the foundation.

Originally built in the 10th century, the Campanile collapsed in 1902 and was rebuilt. It stands on St. Mark’s Square and is the free-standing bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica. At almost 100 meters, the Campanile is the tallest building in the city. However, scientific studies have shown that the Venice landmark could suffer a similar fate to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. After intensive consultations with ThyssenKrupp Titanium and its partner Titalia, local engineers and experts came to the conclusion that titanium is the best solution to save the Campanile. “No other material lasts so long as titanium under these conditions. Saltwater is so aggressive that titanium is the number one choice for this application,” says Dr. Markus Holz, managing director of ThyssenKrupp Titanium.

In a complex process scheduled to take two years a system of titanium rods connected by titanium nuts and held together by eight titanium plates will be fastened around the existing foundation. The tension created in this way will prevent distortion of the foundation and guarantee its long-term stability. The system will be installed three-and-a-half meters under water. The titanium for the system is currently being manufactured by ThyssenKrupp Titanium and will be delivered to Italian partner company Titalia. The actual construction work to shore up St. Mark’s Campanile is scheduled to begin at the end of 2009.

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