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Concrete vs. Hurricane

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Concrete vs. Hurricane

Abstract

There are many ways to manipulate concrete to increase its durability and resistance to high winds as such in a hurricane. This paper goes over the numerous types of additives to concrete as well as a little bit of the history of “ hurricane proofing “ structures.

Reinforced concrete seems to be the best defense against hurricanes so far. The National Hurricane Center in south Florida was built specifically for withstanding hurricanes. This facility cost over five million dollars and contains 3,000 cubic yards of concrete. The structure was built to withstand 130-mph winds and can take a direct hit by a 250-pound projectile at 60-mph. The building is surrounded by a 10-inch thick concrete shell and is elevated 5 feet above the flood plain. Removable storm panels and roll down shutters protect the buildings openings. There are many other examples of building built to withstand hurricanes but this paper is more focused on the concrete and the concrete reinforcements used in those buildings. Monolithic Domes are becoming popular in the concrete construction industry. These type buildings use half as much concrete and steel as traditional buildings and are resistant against fire, rot, and insects. FEMA describes this construction as “near-absolute protection” against wind speeds up to 250-mph. There is a monolithic dome gymnasium built in Italy, Texas, an area that is prone to high winds. This building is 17,000 SF Diameter of 142 with steel-reinforced concrete, 6’’ thick at the bottom and 3.5’’ thick at the top. This particular structure can also withstand winds up to 250-mph. The unit cost per square foot is 85 dollars versus 98 dollars for traditional construction cost. There are also many retrofit kits that can be added to masonry/concrete homes. The first step in retrofitting these homes is anchoring to the foundation of the home. This process can be very difficult and expensive to do. The most common way of adding reinforcements involves cutting out the face of the blocks in a vertical column at the wall corner, on one side of each window of door opening, and at a spacing of 4 to 8 feet along the wall when there is no opening. Steel reinforcing rods are then epoxy grouted into the bond beam at the top and the foundation with an overlap of at least 25 inches where they meet. The cells are then filled with grout and the wall finish re-applied. Another method of retrofitting is chipping out of the block at the bond beam and a rod is epoxy grouted horizontally into the bond beam. Grout is poured in through the top hole and once it begins to flow out of the bottom hole, the bottom hole is blocked and grout is added until it flows out of the top hole. The top of the cable is hooked around the rod in the bond beam and cable clamps are tightened so that the cable is pulled tightly around the rod. Grout is than added until both the top hole and the side of the bond beam is filled. This hole is then blocked and the grout is allowed to harden. Critical damage to buildings in high winds is usually due to uplift of the roof. Reinforced concrete masonry is well suited to resist theses loads due to it’s relatively large mass available to resist the large uplift and overturning forces. Grout and reinforcing steel tie the walls into a strong cohesive unit that minimizes the number of connectors needed and reducing the margin for error, as a structure is only as strong as it’s weakest link. One of the primary goals for buildings subjected to high winds is to maintain a continuous load path from the roof to the foundation. This allows wind uplift forces on the roof to be safely distributed through the walls to the foundation, where they are dissipated into the ground. If one part of the load fails, or is discontinuous, building failure may occur. Proper detailing and installation of mechanical connectors is necessary for maintaining continuous load paths. In order for connectors to provide their rated load capacity, they must be installed accordingly to the manufacturers specifications in costal areas, corrosion protection to the connectors is especially important due to the corrosive environment. Concrete has been blended with fibers for as long as man has been building. The fibers we use today are different form the straw and stick that early age man used when he used mud as a form of concrete. Now we blend glass fibers with concrete mainly for architectural purposes. Glass fiber has been used for the last 25 years successfully for concrete reinforcement. This glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) consists of high strength glass fiber embedded in a cementitious matrix. The fibers are the principle load-carrying members, while the surrounding matrix keeps them in the desired locations and orientation, acting as a load transfer medium between them, and protects the from environmental damage. Steel fibers are mostly used for paving roads and inside tunnels. Steel fibers reinforce concrete by withstanding tensile cracking. Steel fiber floor/slab applications can save money when compared to other reinforcing systems. Steel fiber reinforced concrete can withstand light and heavy loads. The flexural strength of fiber reinforced concrete is greater than unreinforced concrete. Fiber reinforced concrete is considered to be one of the greatest advancements in the construction engineering during the twentieth century.

References

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1995-06-02/news/1995153028_1_hurricane-center-concrete-burpee

http://elibrary.bigchalk.com.ezp-00rrw.lirn.net/elibweb/elib/do/document?set=search&dictionaryClick=&secondaryNav=&groupid=1&requestid=lib_standard&resultid=3&edition=&ts=AECBF343D2C858DCF88BD0F86579096B_1350702743335&start=1&publicationId=&urn=urn%3Abigchalk%3AUS%3BBCLib%3Bdocument%3B165546738

http://www.floridadisaster.org/hrg/content/walls/masonry_wall_reinforcement.asp

http://www.brighthubengineering.com/concrete-technology/47714-types-of-reinforced-concrete/

http://cedb.asce.org/cgi/WWWdisplay.cgi?285504

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