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 Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

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: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>