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Need For Speed: This Elevator in Shanghai Can Go Faster than Usain Bolt

Oct 07, 2016 04:42 AM EDT

The Shanghai Tower in China -- the world's second tallest building -- has recently unveiled its high-speed elevator, which is said to be faster than Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world himself.

In July, the 2,074-feet-tall building has installed an elevator designed by Mitsubishi Electric, which is capable of traveling at 20.5 meters per second (67 feet per second). This means the machine could go faster than Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, whose running speed record is at 40 feet per second, CNN reports. Visitors at the Shanghai Tower are ferried up at lightning speed to get a captivating view of the whole of Shanghai.

According to Mitsubishi, the record-breaking speed was achieved through a control panel that can maximize the traction machine's performance. The elevator could switch between 1,080 meters per minute or 1,230 meters per minute, which is about 40 to 46 miles per hour. The new technology enables the elevator to travel from second-level basement to the 119th floor in just 53 seconds. The company also made improvements on safety features, such as the speed governor, brake device, and buffer.

"While Mitsubishi Electric's cutting-edge technologies drastically increase the speed, the elevator also delivers enhanced safety, top-level riding comfort, silence and power saving," the company said in a statement.

But according to Albert So, an expert in elevator engineering, there should be a limit to how fast an elevator could go. "I predict the maximum speed of a vertical lift cabin cannot be more than 79 feet per second," So told CNN. "This is not because we can't make lifts that go faster than this, but because of the air pressure."

If an elevator travels faster than that, passengers might find it difficult to acclimatize to the air pressure on the top floor, So said. Similar to an airplane cabin, engineers would need to pressurize the entire building.

 Another skyscraper, the CTF Tower in Guangzhou, is a contender for the title of world's quickest elevator. Last summer, the building unveiled its high-speed Hitachi-designed elevator that zooms to about 65 feet per second.

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