Providing Protection to the United States Air Force Memorial

United States Air Force Memorial three spires soaring into a partly cloudy blue sky

Maintain the Structural Integrity of the Memorial from Harmful Wind Energy


Aerospace & Aeronautical


The United States Air Force Memorial


To damp the negative effects of wind energy to the United States Air Force Memorial’s three stainless steel spires arcing 200 feet into the air.


The United States Air Force Memorial is the design concept of the late renowned Architect James Ingo Freed. The memorial consists of three soaring stainless steel spires that arc against the sky. Each spire reaches over 200 feet into the air and resembles the contrails of Air Force jets.

During the design phase of the project, scale models of the Monument’s spires were put through wind tunnel testing. The tests determined that wind energy placed the structural integrity of the spires in jeopardy. To dissipate the negative effects wind energy presents, double-walled, ball-in-box dampers were designed, built and placed inside the spires. Each box is 2.5 feet per side and contains a free-rolling 20-inch metal ball. The space between the walls of the box contains a series of Sorbothane® pads.

Sorbothane®, a visoelastic polymer material, works to absorb the impact of the free-rolling balls and damp the dangerous energy from the wind. 

Learn more about the United States Air Force Memorial project in this article from the Washington Post by Rick Weiss.