Design of an Earthquake Proof One Family House: A house in alternative Construction Material, made for slum areas in Medellin, Colombia (Civil/Mechanical Project)

One of mankind’s most important needs is the need for shelter. All around the world people live in lack of this basic need. Colombia is a South American country heavily burdened by civil war for many years. This has led to that many people have moved to the larger cities with large slum areas and bad living conditions.

This thesis is aiming to give a solution to the problem with bad housing and it is performed in cooperation with Ankarstiftelsen. Ankarstiftelsen is a Swedish charity organisation that works with the suffering people in various places in Colombia.

This thesis examines the possibility to build a house in a sandwich technique with a core of rigid plastic foam and a skin material of fibre reinforced plastic. The construction should be as easy as possible to manufacture, and the construction is also intended to be self carrying. The final proposition is to build the house using polyurethane rigid foam as the core, and a glass fibre reinforced polyester as the skin. This combination combines good mechanical behaviour with a relatively low price.

Tests have been performed to evaluate the constructions ability to withstand some basic loads, with the help of computer aided engineering. The program that has been used to create a model is ProEngineer, and the application ProMechanica has been used to perform the analysis. The loads that have been tested are: gravity loads, wind loads, maintenance loads and earthquake loads.

Colombia is located in the so called Pacific Ring of Fire, where earthquakes are a bitter reality. The Colombian building code is, as a result of this, much focused on the issue of earthquake safety. The Colombian building code has been used in order to create reliable earthquake testing models.

The authors come to the conclusion that the house is possible to build with the given data. However, further investigations regarding manufacturing techniques and practical tests have to be made before the house can be built in reality.
Source: University of Skövde
Author: Fabisch, Anna | Karlsson, Anders

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