Scientists aim to build 'green homes' that can withstand hurricanes

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Washington, Dec 14 (ANI): In a new study, researchers are aiming to develop home foundations and frames built of a lightweight unbreakable composite material that may bend in a hurricane, and can simply float on the rising tide of a storm's coastal surge.he study is going on at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and is set for six months of overseas research aimed at making the technology a reality.

UAB Associate Professor of Engineering Nasim Uddin, and his collaborators are behind the innovative work.

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.

"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, and Fouad Fouad, 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," he added.

According to Uddin, 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. (ANI)

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