Engineers assess post-tornado structural damage and resilience in Kentucky

Rakeh Saleem and Saanchi Kaushal, doctoral students in architectural engineering, and Rebecca Napolitano, an assistant professor in architectural engineering, assess the damage to buildings caused by the aftermath of a tornado.Credits: Mariantonieta Gutierrez Soto, Pennsylvania

Research can mean examining data on a computer or studying a sample in a quiet laboratory. It also means doing an unplanned 12-hour road trip to wear a helmet and collect data yourself. Penn State College of Engineering faculty and graduate students did the latter and visited Mayfield, Kentucky to collect data on tornado destruction as a result of the December 2021 Midwestern tornado series.

Mariantonieta Gutierrez Soto, a member of the Field Assessment Structure Team known as FAST within the National Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance (StEER) network, an assistant professor at schools of engineering design, technology and professional programs, and a global engineering design engagement coordinator, Rebecca Napolitano, an assistant professor of architectural engineering, will be notified by StEER if a researcher needs to be assigned to record the damage immediately after a natural disaster.

“This trip was a reconnaissance mission,” Napolitano said. “We had to capture some of the data that didn’t exist after two weeks for cleanup. We did a door-to-door assessment, attached a camera to the car to get Street View, and used a drone for aerial assessment. Did. “”

In addition to photographic recordings of the constructed environment, two researchers and their graduate students, Saanchi Singh Kaushal and Rakeh Saleem, assessed the damage using standard language and observation indicators, in accordance with the StEER agreement. Did. For example, when assessing roof damage, researchers used wind damage assessments to distinguish whether half of the roof was still installed, one-third installed, and so on. It also contained information that could only be determined by immediate on-site observation, such as damage that could be identified as being caused by trees or debris, as trees and debris could be seen even before cleaning. In the area.

Their data was edited using information collected by other network members of StEER’s various universities. 2021 Midwestern Tornado Occurrence Joint Preliminary Virtual Reconnaissance Report and Early Access Reconnaissance Report. The report summarizes the performance of various structures and recommends research paths for developing disaster-resistant structures.

Napolitano and Gutierrez Soto use the data to provide information on the elasticity of old structural features for potential modern use and the structural engineering aspects of post-disaster community recovery, respectively.

“How resilient is the community as a whole? How fast is the community recovering?” Gutierrez Soto asked. “Every state has a post-natural disaster management plan. We take advantage of that space to see how different communities are preparing differently, and everyone is better off with monitoring tools and more. I understand how to design to be ready. ”

Researchers plan to revisit Mayfield over the next few months to continue assessing the recovery of the community.

The trajectory of the recent killer tornado can be seen from space

Quote: Engineers suffer structural damage after Kentucky Tornado (February 8, 2022) gets February 8, 2022 from And evaluate resilience

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Engineers assess post-tornado structural damage and resilience in Kentucky

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