Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Seeks Green Homes That Withstand Hurricanes

11.12.2008
Home foundations and frames built of a lightweight composite material that may bend - but won’t break - in a hurricane and can simply float on the rising tide of a storm’s coastal surge?
Sounds too Sci-Fi?
Maybe like something from the distant future?

Well, the technology is closer than you think. A professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is set for six months of overseas research aimed at making it a reality, now.

UAB Associate Professor of Engineering Nasim Uddin, Ph.D., and his collaborators are behind the innovative work. Beginning Nov. 22, Uddin will spend six months in Bangladesh as a visiting lecturer and researcher at the BRAC University. Uddin will work to strengthen the university’s post graduate-program in disaster mitigation while he furthers his ongoing research into natural fiber-based composite technologies for low-cost residential coastal housing, engineered to withstand hurricane strength wind and storm surge damage. The trip is funded by a Fulbright Scholarship grant and is an extension of more than six years worth of UAB based research funded by more than $1 million in National Science Foundation grants.

“Coastal people everywhere face serious threats, but imagine if we can build a home that would still be there after the storm,” Uddin said.

While in Bangladesh, Uddin will work with local educators and researchers to study the feasibility, reliability and livability of low cost coastal housing designed to endure hurricanes using environmentally friendly composite building technology. The technology weaves fibers from the jute tree, one of Bangladesh’s most common and thriving plants, with plastics to form an ultra-strong building material. Uddin’s ongoing research with co-principal investigators Professors Uday Vaidya, Ph.D., and Fouad Fouad, Ph.D., has focused on a similar composite material, but one that relies on glass fibers rather than natural tree fibers.

“The idea in Bangladesh is to find what we can do to design a more green material that is locally available at a substantially lower cost when compared to alternative building materials, and that is substantially stronger than the homes and structures currently being built along the coastline,” Uddin said. “We will learn if these jute fiber homes are livable, and we’ll try to resolve any architectural issues, getting a step closer to the real implementation or construction of such homes for people battered by centuries of deadly storms.”

Uddin said the technology is light weight and also could help the structures survive hurricane storm surge and the resulting flooding, by essentially allowing the buildings to float on the rising tide once uplift pressures from climbing water levels force the structures free from their foundations.

Uddin said that while this next phase of his fiber-composite research is taking place overseas, the technology, if it proves viable, will have tangible benefits for the coastal regions of United States, including parts of Alabama.

“The potential payoff of this program could be the rapid insertion of the tree-fiber technology into the rebuilding and future construction of homes in the Gulf Coast states, especially in flood and storm prone areas like Mobile and New Orleans,” Uddin said.

Uddin said that Bangladesh is the ideal country for his research. The Asian nation is one of the most disaster prone and densely populated in the world, offering a unique opportunity to better understand the potential real-world applications of the tree-fiber composite technology in construction. Also, he stressed that the BRAC University he will partner with is a part of one of the world’s largest non-governmental development organizations with the established network and infrastructure needed to implement the fiber-technology program at the grass roots level.

“This is a poor country with an extremely poor coastal community that is completely devastated by these storms,” Uddin said. “A single storm can kill millions. So if our technology can be applied there successfully, you can see how many lives it could save in U.S. cities or anywhere else.”

Andrew Hayenga | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uab.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From Hannover around the world and to the Mars: LZH delivers laser for ExoMars 2020

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

21.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos

21.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>