UA students use debris cannons to test storm shelter wall panels

Updated: Sep. 13, 2017 at 6:22 PM CDT
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Source: WBRC
Source: WBRC

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - University of Alabama students and faculty broke out some big guns to test FEMA approved storm shelter wall panels.

They fired 2x4s from a debris cannons to study the stability of the panels to withstand storm debris impact.

"If we can come up with a cheaper way to construct these, a combination that makes them more quickly constructed and perhaps yields better behavior," said Michael Kreger with the University of Alabama.

Those 2x4s traveled at the speed of 100 miles per hour. The first 2x4 shot into a panel landed between walls studs and got stuck.

The second 2x4 fired into the same panel hit a wall stud and broke apart. Engineers will perform this same test 18 times to determine how well the panels hold up.

That information will be used to better and hopefully cheaper storm shelters in the future.

"This is a considerable expense to build these storm shelters, incorporated in these homes and if we can stretch the money by using different details and make it safer for everybody," Kreger added.

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