62 episodes

We all have experienced natural hazards in our lives: earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunami, floods: they impact our society at the most fundamental levels. Through rigorous testing and outreach programs, the team at the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure is committed to making sure the next natural hazard doesn't have to be a disaster for you and your family. From the National Science Foundation and the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure: This is DesignSafe radio!

DesignSafe Radio Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure

    • Natural Sciences

We all have experienced natural hazards in our lives: earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunami, floods: they impact our society at the most fundamental levels. Through rigorous testing and outreach programs, the team at the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure is committed to making sure the next natural hazard doesn't have to be a disaster for you and your family. From the National Science Foundation and the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure: This is DesignSafe radio!

    StEER Response to Hurricane Dorian w/ Dr. Tracy Kijewski-Correa

    StEER Response to Hurricane Dorian w/ Dr. Tracy Kijewski-Correa

    Today, Tracy Kijewski-Correa from the University of Notre Dame talks to us about her work in the Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance (STEER) Network and the response to Hurricane Dorian! You can find all the published data reports from the teams here:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/16dXnDoQXTMllv0ospJFqTD-Rr4gzDzWgqUjUvNIO8fQ/edit

    • 35 min
    54 Interdisciplinary Natural Hazards Research with Lori Peek of CONVERGE

    54 Interdisciplinary Natural Hazards Research with Lori Peek of CONVERGE

    Peek was born and raised in Kansas, where she completed her undergraduate work in sociology at Ottawa University. She earned her master’s in education at Colorado State University then her PhD in sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder.
     
    Peek discusses growing up in a tornado-prone state. She has vivid memories of the storm cellar during tornado watches, and her grandparents’ barn and home being damaged by a tornado. But she did not consider a career in the field of natural disasters until she became a graduate assistant at the Natural Hazards Center at UCB, which, she says, launched her career as a disaster researcher. As a sociologist, she sought to study inequality in society, but as a grad student she also became intellectually fascinated with the interdisciplinary nature of the field. And she deeply appreciates the care that practitioners and policy makers bring to research. Today, she directs the Natural Hazards Center, which was founded over 40 years ago.
     
    Peek explains that the center is one of the nation’s oldest social science and multidisciplinary research centers. It was founded by Gilbert White to assess and to reduce losses from natural hazards by bringing together researchers, practitioners and policy makers. She says the center’s goal is to make a more just and equitable world where humans can live in harmony with nature. It is vital to translate knowledge to communities, she says.
     
    The center’s Quick Response Research Program, funded by NSF, provides small grants to researchers to collect perishable data after a disaster. The researchers then write papers and new grants which can lead to breakthroughs. Peek cites an example of a graduate student who looks at the use of prisoners for labor in disaster-response situations.
     
    In order to bring researchers together, the center holds an annual workshop in July. Also, working with partner organizations, the center provides a publication called Disaster Research as well as one called Research Counts, 700-750 word stories with key insights. Peek says the idea is to get knowledge out to communities who may not have time or resources to read scholarly research. She says the idea is to democratize knowledge, to get it into the hands of people on the ground.
     
    The CONVERGE center honors the growing body of knowledge in convergence science. One of NSF’s 10 big ideas, convergence is about diverse scientific fields joining to solve key problems – such as mitigating damage from natural hazards.
     
    Peek says that although the language of convergence may be new, the approach is not. She hopes that the CONVERGE facility will systematize multidisciplinary research and provide a structure for social science researchers to work with the engineers in the facilities under the NHERI umbrella.
     
    Peek helped develop the NHERI science plan, where she helped bridge the divide between social and engineering sciences. She sees many interconnections and possibilities for research.
     
    She discusses “team science,” which necessitates developing a process for researchers with different perspectives and skills to talk to one another. Researchers need to learn to co-define problems, she says, and develop a shared language.
     
    Peek says CONVERGE had 5 major tasks in the works. One is partnering with NHERI’s DesignSafe team to develop and build social science and interdisciplinary data models. Like the engineers using DesignSafe, social scientists will be able to publish and share their data, protocols and instruments.
     
    The CONVERGE team also is working with the NHERI RAPID facility at the University of Washington to develop a social science component of the “RAPID App.” Peek says this will allow for social scientists and multidisciplinary teams to use the App for reconnaissance and recovery research. She is excited, for instance, to

    • 49 min
    Hurricane Florence Special 2 - Wind Engineer Frank Lombardo

    Hurricane Florence Special 2 - Wind Engineer Frank Lombardo

    Frank Lombardo
    Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Wind Engineering Research Laboratory
    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
     
    On the cusp of Hurricane Florence, host Dan Zehner was lucky enough to meet up with wind engineer Frank Lombardo. Based at the University of Illinois, Lombardo studies extreme wind events and and their effects on structures.
     
    Lombardo says he has always been interested in weather. As a college student, he briefly considered atmospheric science, but went into civil engineering. When looking at graduate programs, the multidisciplinary PhD program in wind science and engineering at Texas Tech appealed to him. He completed his PhD there in 2009 and was hired on faculty as a hazards engineer at U of I.
     
    He describes his focus: wind engineering and extreme events: thunderstorms, tornados and hurricanes. He says the scientific community doesn’t know a lot about how thunder storms and tornados and affect buildings. Considered annually, the majority of wind-related losses in the U.S. tend to be from tornados and thunderstorms.
     
    Currently, building codes don’t consider how thunderstorm and tornado loads affect structures, he says. He is part of an ASCE working group collects data on storms so engineers can mitigate for them in the future.
     
    Lombardo and Zehner discuss the differences between hurricanes and other wind storms. Hurricanes are easier to sample, he says. You have advance notice and the winds are large scales. Thunderstorm and tornado winds are smaller scale, and so harder to capture. Part of his work is developing new instruments to capture tornadic and thunderstorm winds. Wind engineers need sturdy, accurate instrumentation, he says, which means they collaborate frequently with Industrial and electrical engineers.
     
    Solutions are inherently multidisciplinary, Lombardo says.
     
    He discusses his newly created measurement tool, a “wind loading cube,” which is a four-foot cube. Lombardo and his team are testing out the novel device in Hurricane Florence.
     
    He discusses the way he designs projects: get full scale data, try to replicate it in wind tunnels – which will, with luck, lead to strategies for damage mitigation.
     
    The cube is heavy and anchored to the ground. It will measure wind loads on the cube. During the upcoming storm Florence, he plans to deploy in the Wilmington, NC, with University of Florida wind engineer Forrest Masters, who will be here with his wind measurement towers.
     
    Lombardo’s research mission to Wilmington is part of the Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance, or StEER, network, which (among other things) coordinates official event responses. Deploying during a storm to collect perishable data is an integrated effort, Lombardo says.  He discusses the importance of post storm surveys.
     
    Overall in his research, he hopes to determine factors responsible for damage to structures. Many variables come into play, he says. Not just wind, but there is terrain, structural aerodynamics, and the structure itself. Has it been “hardened” for a storm? All the factors combine to determine factors that cause damage.
     
    He discusses new ways for determining tornado and thunderstorm wind strength. After storms, intensity is determined by damage, not wind speed. Lombardo is examining things like tree fall patterns and vortex patterns to estimate speed of winds.
     
    As part of the ASCE committee on wind storms, he knows that the ASCE’s 2022 building codes will include tornado design. His committee hopes to build wind speeds into code – although other factors are key, such as atmospheric pressure, rotation load, upward winds and debris. 
     
    Practical measures are important, Lombardo says. He says one way to protect your home from severe winds is to reinforce your garage doors. For roofs, you could even use

    • 41 min
    Hurricane Florence Special - Team Rubicon Prepares to Respond

    Hurricane Florence Special - Team Rubicon Prepares to Respond

    As this storm approaches, we talk with Laura Block from Team Rubicon about how the organization is mobilizing and planning for a Harvey storm level response if it is needed.

    Support Team Rubicon as the storm approaches!
    teamrubiconusa.org/give

    • 19 min
    53 Advances in Wind Engineering at the University of Florida with Steve Schein

    53 Advances in Wind Engineering at the University of Florida with Steve Schein

    On today’s episode, host Dan Zehner visits Steve Schein, chief instrumentation engineer at the University of Florida’s Powell Family Structures and Material Laboratory.
     
    From an early age, Steve Schein has been involved in science, coming from a family of engineers and scientists. He earned his degree in electrical and electronic engineering at UF and now enjoys building wind-generating machines for research projects at the Powell Lab.
     
    A self-described instrumentation and measurement nut, Schein discusses a new wind machine project underway. It is a wall of fans: 319 prop-driven fans, each about 8 inches in diameter, and each driven by a 1 horsepower RC motor. Each fan will be able to individually generate any kind of wind field, such as gusts and turbulence, up to 40 miles per hour.
     
    Briefly, Schein discusses another project underway at the UF, a scale model of Puerto Rico. The research team is it using to measure the effects of terrain on wind speed — in hopes of understanding damage caused by Hurricane Maria last year.
     
    Schein describes another wind machine, the Multi-Axis Wind Load Simulator, called MAWLS, which is two stories tall and can generate 200 MPH winds. In one test, using relatively low wind speeds (not even Category five winds), MAWLS winds easily collapsed the type of unreinforced concrete walls typical in Puerto Rican construction.
     
    Schein discusses building this wall of fans. His team started by building sample systems to see if they could build an apparatus that could make representative winds, such as down drafts, rotational vortices, and high frequency wind-peaks. After determining they could make it work, the team began building the machine from scratch. They 3-D printed most of the parts, including electronics mounting structures and air foils.
     
    The Powell Lab team is the only one to build such a machine, Schein says. When operating at full capacity, it will consume about a half million watts.
     
    He discusses some of the problems building the wall and details how it works. Schein says it be running in October and ready for research-testing by fall 2019.

    • 39 min
    Episode 52: Navid Jafari

    Episode 52: Navid Jafari

    • 54 min

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The best!

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Hurricane season in Florida

We just moved to Florida three years ago, this year has been crazy with the Number of hurricanes coming up the coast, what a great show for resources and information regarding hurricanes and preparedness! Thank you!!
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tariq.discoverer ,

In Depth and Fascinating

There's so much to learn about the incredible research going on around the world into improving safety and resilience of communities as they face natural hazards. This show has a well-curated stream of guests, is very timely in its coverage of current events, and is filling a cool niche. The content can be a bit heavy sometimes if seismic engineering, storm surge modeling, and the like aren't your cup of tea (certainly a strong cup of tea), but this podcast is deeply fascinating.

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