Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Green Homes That Withstand Hurricanes Under Development

Date:
December 24, 2008
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
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?

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.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Alabama at Birmingham

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.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Green Homes That Withstand Hurricanes Under Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081210150116.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2008, December 24). Green Homes That Withstand Hurricanes Under Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081210150116.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Green Homes That Withstand Hurricanes Under Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081210150116.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins