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Sun June 20 2021

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Construction world record topples

10 Sep 13 A young engineer has broken the Guinness World Record for the tallest free-standing domino tower.

Tom Holmes and his tower
Tom Holmes and his tower

Tom Holmes, a graduate structural engineer at Arup, used 2,688 dominos to create a tower that reached 5.275 metres at its peak – almost 20cm taller than the previous record.

The record-breaking effort took seven and a half hours to complete, but months to design. Mr Holmes worked with Roland Trim, leader of the Advanced Technology & Research business in the Arup Bristol Office. They used computer modelling programmes to create digital prototypes of the different test structures.

"As engineers, we’re constantly looking for creative solutions to solve problems so it’s great to put my skills to use in a fun task like this,” Mr Holmes said. “It’s not every day that you can say you’ve built the world’s largest domino tower.”

Mr Trim added: “Like on any project, we tested our theories before starting construction. We avoided the need for complex strength calculations by physical testing; a single domino can support my weight without deforming and I can easily lift a box of 3,000 dominos. Armed with that simple logic, we could start to design complex structures that would be able to reach great heights and stand up by themselves."

The previous record for the tallest domino structure was set at 5.08 metres high but consisted of 9,140 dominos – more than three times that used in Holmes’ tower. It was erected and toppled by students from Buchloe, Germany on 5 September 2010.

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