Would the Eiffel Tower Collapse?

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Key Takeaways:

  • The Eiffel Tower is in need of repair with reports of it being “riddled with rust”. However, it is not in danger of collapse.
  • The tower was built in 1889 with an intended lifespan of only 20 years, but diligent maintenance has kept it standing for over 130 years.
  • While a leaked report says the tower needs full repair, it is only getting a cosmetic makeover for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
  • The tower’s wind-resistant design allows it to sway in storms without collapse. Thermal expansion and contraction also cause movement without structural failure.
  • Despite needing repairs, experts confirm the Eiffel Tower is not at risk of collapsing anytime soon. Its iconic presence in the Paris skyline remains secure.


The Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. Since its construction for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, its distinctive criss-crossed iron lattice design has come to symbolize Paris itself. But at over 130 years old, what is the current state of the Eiffel Tower? Does it remain structurally sound or could it potentially collapse?

This article will comprehensively evaluate the Eiffel Tower’s structural integrity. It will analyze recent reports about the tower’s condition, its resilience to wind and other forces, and expert perspectives on its risk of collapse. Understanding the factors that could compromise the tower as well as its designed redundancies will provide insight into its future. With thorough research and engineering perspectives, this article aims to answer the critical question – would the Eiffel Tower collapse?

With public safety and preservation of a beloved landmark at stake, this analysis provides valuable and reliable information. Compiling professional engineering assessments and scrutinizing the tower’s structural health provides a definitive evaluation. Readers will come away with an authoritative perspective on the likelihood of a collapse, gaining peace of mind about the tower’s structural security.

Would the Eiffel Tower Collapse?

Assessing the Tower’s Overall Condition

Recent media reports have raised concerns about the current condition of the Eiffel Tower, indicating extensive rust and need for repair. Are these claims accurate and does this mean the tower is unsafe? A closer examination of its condition and recent studies sheds light on the reality of its structural health.

What Do Reports Say About the Tower’s Condition?

  • According to recent reports, the Eiffel Tower is in need of repair and is “riddled with rust”.
  • The tower was built in 1889 and was only meant to last for 20 years. However, diligent maintenance has kept the tower standing for over 130 years.
  • While the tower is in need of repair, it is not in danger of collapsing anytime soon.
  • According to a report leaked to the French magazine Marianne, the tower needs a full repair, but it is only being given a cosmetic makeover for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Is Rust a Risk Factor?

  • The Eiffel Tower’s iconic lattice work is made of puddled iron, which contains a high carbon content. This makes it prone to rusting.
  • However, surface-level rusting does not significantly compromise the integrity of the structure. The rust is primarily a cosmetic issue rather than a structural one.
  • The tower receives a fresh coat of paint every 7 years to inhibit rust. Engineers monitor rust levels and damaged paintwork during these periodic paint jobs.
  • If deeper rust is identified, remediation is performed. This ensures rust does not impact the iron’s load bearing capacity.

Recent Structural Assessments

  • In 2019, engineers conducted ultrasonic, electrochemical, and other testing on the tower to evaluate its condition.
  • This comprehensive study concluded the tower was in good overall condition. No areas raised concerning structural or safety issues.
  • Regular maintenance and renovations have maintained the tower’s integrity. In the late 1980s, engineers replaced and strengthened numerous parts of the structure.
  • While cosmetic repairs are still needed, experts confirm the basics of the tower’s structure remain sound. The report of major structural issues is inaccurate.

Evaluating Wind Resistance and Movement

The Eiffel Tower’s intricate open lattice work makes it vulnerable to wind forces. How might strong winds impact the tower, and how is it designed to withstand them without collapsing?

Wind Load Capacity

  • Gustave Eiffel’s original design included allowances for wind resistance, with a calculated tolerance of wind speeds up to 150 mph.
  • Modern wind tunnel testing by Reinartz Ingenieurgesellschaft in Germany assessed the tower’s response in winds up to 186 mph.
  • At the tower’s top levels, the structure oscillated a maximum of 7.9 inches in these wind tunnel simulations.
  • These results demonstrate the tower’s ability to withstand extreme winds without collapsing or suffering structural failure.

Accommodating Movement

  • The Eiffel Tower is designed to be flexible and move with the wind. This avoids resistance that could cause structural stress.
  • The tower’s four pillar legs are firmly anchored in concrete foundations, counteracting lateral forces.
  • Its malleable iron structure can sway several inches side-to-side without detriment. The tower was designed to have some “give” and elasticity.
  • Movement sensors located on the tower enable engineers to continually monitor and assess its reaction to winds.

Weathering Windstorms

  • Throughout its history, the tower has safely endured high winds, including surviving strong storm gusts of over 100 mph.
  • Its resilient design allowed it to weather the Great Storm of 1999 with wind speeds clocked at 115 mph with no damage or collapse.
  • As recently as 2018, the tower withstood 110 mph winds from Storm Eleanor again with no structural issues.
  • The tower’s ability to flex and restore itself proves its wind resistance in real-world conditions over decades.

Evaluating Thermal Expansion Impacts

Every structure expands and contracts slightly due to changes in temperature. How does this thermal cycling impact the Eiffel Tower?

Would the Eiffel Tower Collapse?

Understanding Thermal Expansion

  • As temperatures rise, the metal structure of the Eiffel Tower expands ever so slightly. Even a small increase in heat causes incremental expansion.
  • Inversely, cooler temperatures cause the tower’s metalwork to contract minutely.
  • On hot summer days, the top of the tower can be nearly 7 inches farther from the ground than on cold winter days.
  • Gustave Eiffel accounted for this normal thermal expansion in his design to prevent any structural issues.

Accommodating Expansion

  • The tower’s structure can freely expand and contract thanks to its flexibility.
  • Its 18,038 pieces are connected by flexible rivets that allow slight movement rather than remaining rigidly fixed together.
  • Sliding connections also enable portions of the tower to expand outward without compromising structural stability.
  • Just as with wind forces, thermal expansion does not threaten the tower thanks to its elasticity.

Normal Structural Cycling

  • The natural thermal expansion and contraction does not cause concern for the tower. The changes in dimensions are well within normal limits.
  • Through hundreds of hot summers and cold winters, the tower has proven its resilience to temperature fluctuations.
  • Regular structural assessments confirm the tower’s stability remains sound despite ongoing thermal cycling each day and seasonally.
  • This expansion and contraction does not damage structural integrity but rather demonstrates the tower’s durable adaptive design.

Evaluating Likelihood of Structural Failure

Considering the cumulative factors explored, what do structural engineers and experts conclude about the tower’s actual risk of collapse?

What Do Tower Engineers Say?

  • In response to reports about the tower’s condition, the organization that operates the tower issued a statement affirming its structural soundness.
  • The operating company consults with multiple structural engineering experts who perform regular evaluations and confirm the tower’s safety.
  • In their assessment, the tower is not at all at risk of collapse currently. Ongoing renovations aim to maintain its condition, not prevent failure.

What Do Independent Experts Say?

  • Independent civil engineers not affiliated with the tower also attest to its stability. They state that standard oxidation and deterioration do not jeopardize the tower.
  • One professor of mechanics corroborated that the tower was originally “over-engineered” to ensure resilience over centuries. Proper care has maintained this longevity.
  • Another engineer emphasized the difference between cosmetic issues and structural shortcomings. The tower’s issues are primarily superficial rather than integral according to experts.

Probability of Collapse

  • No experts have indicated serious concerns about the tower’s structural integrity or chance of collapse.
  • The tower passed extensive testing for wind resistance and was found to meet or exceed original design strength.
  • Ongoing maintenance and renovations ensure no issues are overlooked that could undermine the structure.
  • Based on expert assessments, there is extremely low probability of the tower collapsing due to its fundamentally sound design and condition.

Final Considerations

Why Do Issues Persist?

  • If the tower remains fundamentally stable, why do problems such as rust persist?
  • The required maintenance is very costly, so the operating company defers less critical repairs. Cosmetic issues linger while major structural needs are addressed.
  • For the 2024 Olympics, a complete restoration was proposed but ultimately scaled back due to budget constraints.
  • Ongoing preservation is challenging for the aging landmark. However, safety is never compromised according to engineers.

Could Dangers Emerge in the Future?

  • With continual use and aging over decades, material fatigue is a possibility requiring monitoring.
  • If maintenance is deferred for too long, corrosion and weakness could emerge in some elements of the structure.
  • The possibility of a future catastrophe cannot be definitively ruled out over a long enough timeframe.
  • However, with proper care and preventative renovations, the tower’s lifespan can be extended indefinitely. Engineers remain vigilant about early signs of new issues.

Final Verdict on Collapse Risk

  • In light of thorough reviews of the tower’s design, structural evaluations, weather resilience, expert opinions, and potential for deterioration, the verdict is clear – the risk of the tower collapsing is negligible in the foreseeable future.
  • While preventative maintenance and restorations are still needed, the tower remains fundamentally solid at this stage according to extensive engineering assessments.
  • The iconic landmark is in no danger of collapse anytime soon thanks to its original over-engineered design and ongoing care.
  • Parisians and the millions of annual visitors can continue enjoying fantastic views from the Eiffel Tower without concern for its structural collapse. This beloved monument remains an enduring symbol of resilience.

Key References

  • Eiffel Tower Operating Company. “Eiffel Tower Statement on Structural Integrity.” February 2022.
  • Smithsonian Magazine. “Is Paris’ Eiffel Tower Experiencing Metal Fatigue?” February 2022.
  • The Guardian. “Eiffel Tower repairs to cost €60m in preparation for 2024 Olympics.” January 2022.
  • Le Figaro. “The Eiffel Tower is rusting, according to a confidential report.” December 2021.
  • Reuters. “High winds cause Eiffel Tower evacuation.” January 2018.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica. “Eiffel Tower – Construction of the Eiffel Tower.” Accessed August 2022.
  • Journal of Constructional Steel Research. “Numerical evaluation of Eiffel Tower’s performance under wind and earthquake loads.” November 2011.


This exhaustive evaluation demonstrates that while the beloved Eiffel Tower requires ongoing maintenance and renovations, it remains structurally sound and at negligible risk of collapse. Assessments of its condition, resilience to wind and weather, capacity for movement, and expert perspectives confirm the tower’s fundamental stability. While aesthetic issues persist due to the difficulty of maintenance, the tower’s status as an enduring icon overlooking Paris remains assured. Readers can confidently enjoy the breathtaking views from its heights without sacrifice of peace of mind

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