Researchers look to see how elevated housing in Florida stood up to Hurricane Michael

phys.org | 12/4/2018 | Staff
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It's commonplace in U.S. coastal areas and floodplains to upraise homes in order to keep living areas dry in case the water rises. However, mobile and wood homes standing a few feet off the ground could be a lot more susceptible to winds exerting force from underneath and increasing the force of loads on walls and ceilings—a possibility that has been studied little, until now.

Today, a researcher from the University of Kansas is investigating elevated residential buildings in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael's impact of the Florida panhandle, where recorded wind speeds reached and exceeded design wind loads along the coast.

Elaina - Sutley - Assistant - Professor - Engineering

Elaina Sutley, assistant professor of civil, environmental & architectural engineering at KU, is performing the work with a new $45,000 RAPID grant from the National Science Foundation.

"Hurricane Michael made landfall on October 10, with wind speeds within a few miles per hour of a Category 5, and impacted the Florida panhandle," she said. "This was the most powerful hurricane that has affected that part of Florida on record and one of the most powerful in history—Andrew was the closest comparison in 1992. With the RAPID grant, we proposed collecting data on two topics. The first was elevated wood housing and the second was elevated manufactured housing—more commonly known as 'mobile homes.'"

Sutley - Buildings - Patchwork - Building - Codes

Sutley said elevated residential buildings are governed by a patchwork of building codes, including ASCE 7, the American Society of Civil Engineers' minimum design loads for buildings.

"For elevated wood structures, in ASCE 7 there's nothing to account for the fact that they're elevated rather than having four walls on ground, with air flowing underneath that could change pressures on walls and roofs," she said. "So, we were specifically looking at wind pressure on the exposed underside of floors and anything that could influence pressure on wall surfaces. We also wanted...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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