RAPID: Examining the Performance of Historic Masonry Structures after the December 2021 Midwest Tornadoes

Project: Research project

Project Details


On December 10-11, 2021, the “Quad-State” tornadoes damaged structures across Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. This Grant for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) will conduct a four-day field survey to document damaged and undamaged masonry structures from this event in Mayfield, Kentucky, with the goal to provide new knowledge and data about the performance of masonry structures during tornadic loading. Many historic masonry structures are presently excluded in recent versions of tornadic building code requirements. The detailed textual and image data collected during this research will contribute to understanding the relationship between masonry construction types and building damage during tornadoes, can help communities to better prepare for and be resilient from natural hazard events, and can inform future building code requirements. Data collected from this award will be archived in the National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Data Depot (https://www.DesignSafe-CI.org). This award will contribute to the NSF role in the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). The focus of this research is 1) to evaluate the efficacy of retrofit and adaptively reused masonry structures, 2) to elucidate potential weaknesses in other historic structures across the United States, and 3) to identify resilient masonry connection typologies for future retrofits and additions. This research will provide new knowledge and data concerning certain types of masonry structures (Risk Categories 1 and 2) during tornadic loading. This knowledge can lead to improving the performance of historic masonry structures, as many historic masonry structures are not addressed in recent additions to tornadic building design criteria (American Society of Civil Engineers 7-22, Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures). The field reconnaissance will generate a unique data set that will include ground-based and drone-based photos and ground-based detailed structural surveys focusing specifically on connection typologies due to retrofitting or building additions. Data will be collected using field equipment from the NSF-supported NHERI Reconnaissance (RAPID) Facility at the University of Washington. The merit of this work lies in the detailed data set generated, which will encompass 3D point cloud models, images, and architectural drawings for 50 masonry structures. This more detailed data set will help quantify the efficacy of different retrofitting and strengthening methods to inform future solutions and building code requirements.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date4/1/222/28/25


  • National Science Foundation: $88,237.00


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