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The Corrosion of the Eiffel Tower
  • By Kim Na-young, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2022.10.04 09:24
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▲ Eiffel Tower with Beautiful Scenery

A classified report leaked to the French media that the landmark of France, the Eiffel Tower, was 90% corroded and in need of general repair. The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1887 and was completed in 1889 for observation, broadcasting, and telecommunication frequencies, but over time it was turned into a tourist tower. After it was completed, there were several controversies about corrosion, however, France did not give a definitive response.

Since the Eiffel Tower is made of steel, it is painted every seven years to prevent rusting. According to a 2010 report by ‘Xpiris,’ a corrosion protection company, obtained by the French magazine Marianne, the Eiffel Tower operator should come up with a new maintenance policy focusing on structural testing of the aging Eiffel Tower. A 2014 report said that only 10 percent of the total paint layer on the Eiffel Tower's surface was maintained, and the rest was peeled off, leaving 6,300 tons of iron exposed to outside conditions. In addition, a 2016 report found 884 deficits in the Eiffel Tower, 68 of which were structural defects. Experts suggested that the entire repair should be done in the order of removing the existing paint, repairing the corrosion, and repainting it. However, the Paris City Council decided to repaint it instead.

The Eiffel Tower, which is being painted ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics at a cost of 60 million Euros, is being painted for the 20th time, and experts say it's a waste of money and resources. Even though the Eiffel Tower has 6 million tourists every year and is the fourth largest tourist destination in France. Therefore, suspicions are being raised that the Eiffel Tower is not making repairs in order to not lose tourism revenue. However, the Paris side did not make any repairs during the eight-month period when tours to the Eiffel Tower were suspended due to the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the Eiffel Tower website introduces the perspective of a famous architect who says that the most substantial enemy of iron composing the Eiffel Tower, is corrosion due to oxidation, and that only painting is sufficient, thereby appealing to tourists and citizens of Paris about the robustness of the Eiffel Tower.

On the other hand, the Statue of Liberty in New York, USA and Big Ben, the clock tower in London, UK, were closed for a period of 1 year and 5 years, respectively, while repair work was carried out. In particular, the Statue of Liberty was given by France as a gift to commemorate the 100th anniversary of American Independence, and in 2011, for the convenience of tourists, a new staircase and elevator were installed at a cost of 27.25 million dollars, and maintenance was carried out for the purpose of safety. Like the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben is expected to resume operation this summer after disassembling and repairing over 3,500 parts and iron roof components at a cost of £80 million, over five years, beginning August 2017.

The Eiffel Tower is still known to many people as a landmark representing France, although it has been nearly 400 years since its completion. If a classified report had not leaked that the Eiffel Tower was corroding, the citizens and tourists of Paris would have continued to enjoy the seemingly fine Eiffel Tower, without knowing the facts. France must do the required repair work as soon as possible to protect its landmarks, so that they are not comparable with landmarks of other countries.

By Kim Na-young, cub-reporter  skdud2986@naver.com

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