Researchers explore impact of sea-level rise on building foundations – ScienceDaily

Researchers have studied how flooding from rising sea levels and storm surges will damage the built environment along the coast, but what about the effects of climate change that are less visible below the surface?

A new study by civil engineers at Colorado State University examines the hidden costs of building foundations due to sea level rise. They suggest a method of inspection and repair to reduce the cost associated with the deterioration caused by salt water erosion.

The researchers, who are part of the NIST Center for Community Risk-Based Planning at CSU, say it’s important to plan for the future — particularly given that there are more than 16 million buildings along the US’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

“This is a problem, and it will cost a lot of money,” said Hossam Mahmoud, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a co-author of the study.

One site is at risk

Engineers studied nearly 137,000 apartment buildings in low-lying areas of Mobile County, Alabama, and estimated potential damage to the foundation from saltwater erosion.

As sea level rises, the groundwater table rises, and salt water is more corrosive than fresh water. Using current predictions of sea-level rise and water levels based on wells at Mobile, they predicted how long it would take for salt water to reach building foundations.

Under the most extreme projections of sea level rise, they estimated that the annual repair cost for Mobile’s enterprises could reach $90 million by 2100.

“The significance here is that this value that we found in one of the salt water intrusion scenarios is only for 137,000 buildings in Mobile,” Mahmoud said. “If you calculate the cost for the entire East Coast – or from east to west coast – that’s amazing.”

offer a solution

Engineers have developed a formula to help building owners determine when to inspect and repair their buildings based on the building’s location and potential for salt water erosion. They say that waiting for the right time to fix the foundation – but not so long until the damage has occurred – will save building owners money.

They also suggested using low-cost sensors to monitor the groundwater level near the building’s foundation and protect against uncertainties.

The researchers chose to study the mobile phone because it is an industrial coastal city with a large number of economically disadvantaged residents. They have begun investigating the impact of natural disasters on vulnerable communities on mobile to find out how best to allocate resources to help them recover in emergencies.

“In order to be able to assess the social and economic impact, we must have a good understanding of the impact of the hazard on the built environment,” Mahmoud said.

Next, the team plans to examine the structural performance outside the foundation and how this affects people in the area. For example, how much wind and water flow during a hurricane can the structure withstand before alternative housing or shelters are needed?

“This work will allow us to be proactive in finding solutions quickly to help those in need, rather than waiting until the situation turns bad,” Mahmoud said.

Helping communities recover from natural disasters is the focus of the CSU Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning, a $20 million partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology that includes collaborators from more than a dozen other universities.

Story source:

Materials Introduction of Colorado State University. Original by Jayme DeLoss. Note: Content can be modified according to style and length.

Source link

Related Posts