Rose-Hulman Engineer Working On Tornado Resistant Homes

Steel plates can be added during the construction process that better connect a home’s roof to its walls, and the walls to the foundation.

DuboisCoTornado

Photo: National Weather Service

An EF-1 tornado was confirmed near Jasper in Dubois Co.

A mechanical engineer at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is trying to figure out how to build houses that will stand up better in tornadoes.

Fred Haan said steel plates can be added during the construction process that better connect a home’s roof to its walls, and the walls to the foundation. Those steel plates can make a big difference.

“Sometimes,” he said, “people think, ‘Oh, tornadoes are so terribly powerful…there‘s nothing you can do,‘ but it turns out that 90% of tornadoes are not the huge monster tornadoes that you see in Joplin, Missouri, or something like that. 90 percent are EF-2 or less.”

That’s comparable to the power of a hurricane. The simple steel plates Haan is suggesting, he said, are also sometimes called ‘hurricane clips’ or ‘hurricane straps.’

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