The problem with hurricanes today is relevant for most parts of our planet. Hurricane resistant homes, for a layman, seem at first glance to be financially inaccessible luxury, but they are really not. Let’s examine this issue in detail.
Traditional homes have a number of disadvantages related to their classic rectangular shape.
Yes, it is precisely their shape with its straight walls and a flat angled roof that is the cause of many problems, but this is just not something people usually talk about. Additionally, there is heat loss through the walls and increased consumption of construction materials during building, and also – a high aerodynamic resistance.
Why is this not something you hear often about? Well, because it’s a conspiracy. Another global conspiracy of the rich against the poor. Do you think I’m joking? Okay, I’m kidding. But, really, builders benefit if your house is expensive, utilities companies benefit if you pay expensive bills for heating, and so on. Nothing’s new here.
With regards to the heat loss: yes, I would argue, and many engineers will confirm that traditional flat walls and roofs, and especially roofs with many facets, increase heat consumption that you use to warm up a house. That means that they merely act as a radiator, the same one as in your car, by giving away part of the interior heat to the surrounding air. I will discuss this point soon in more detail in my article about energy efficient homes.
But let get back to hurricanes
For your reference: aerodynamic drag is a force with which gas (in this case, air) affects a body that is inside of it (in this case, a house); this force is directed in the direction opposite to the direction of the flow.
Skipping complex engineering explanations and using plain language, traditional homes have many ledges, corners and bent fractures on which the air flow may catch. Fast air flow is a viscous thing. And if in case with a regular wind, in the worst case scenario you risk losing heat, then during hurricane hitting a traditional house you risk a physical destruction of the latter.
Let me illustrate it using an example: standing in the ocean, lower your hand into the water with your palm perpendicular to the surface of the water. Sharply, move it sideways. Do you feel the resistance? The faster you move your hand, the greater the resistance. That same force occurs when a hurricane wind blows on your typical house. And when the force developed by the wind exceeds the breaking strength of the materials of your home, it gets destroyed.
Now, the good news: dome houses don’t have this disadvantage!
They have a shape that has minimal aerodynamic resistance. Their shape as if facilitates a smooth flow of air masses over the dome surface, no matter where a hurricane wind is blowing from.
In layperson’s terms: blowing on the dome, the wind have nothing to catch hold of. The wind flows over the dome the same way water flows around a stone lying on the bottom of the stream. The dome shape does not create any dangerous turbulence that can start breaking the roof by catching on a sharp corner. This allows dome houses to resist hurricanes.
Here is another point against traditional houses with flat roofs.
When a classic house is hit by a fast flow of air, the air instantly creates over a flat roof the area of low pressure (Bernoulli’s principle is at work here; for more details see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernoulli%27s_principle ), and the air inside the house simply blows the roof up from the inside. In the case with a dome home, again, this situation cannot happen.
These facts, combined with the strength of the supporting framework and the materials used, allow dome houses to effectively resist hurricanes and rightly be called the hurricane resistant homes.
Here’s a little more information on this subject from other resources:
Thus, simply due to a dome shape it is possible to significantly reduce wind pressure on a building structure.
However, remember that merely having a dome shape of the house does not free you from the need to build it correctly. It is equally important to use high-quality design and appropriate building materials. Read my article “Building geodesic dome” in order to understand how to build the world’s best hurricane resistant homes.
Oh, and more – dome homes are very resistant to earthquakes, and I will talk about this in detail in a separate article.
Let’s sum it all up
In the regions on our planet, where people are faced with hurricane winds, it is necessary to take into account their devastating impact on roofs and homes in general, and to design residential and commercial buildings using the laws of aerodynamics, ergonomics and stability of structures.
If we additionally recall, as I’ve pointed out in this article, that dome homes are also cheaper than traditional houses, then using dome structures in building hurricane resistant homes would be the perfect option.
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Shall we discuss?