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    Author(s): Robert H. Falk; James J. Bridwell; John C. Hermanson
    Date: 2015
    Source: USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Research Paper, FPL-RP-681, 2015; 20 p.
    Publication Series: Research Paper (RP)
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)


    In the United States, tornadoes cause significant damage and result in many injuries and deaths. Although the development and use of tornado safe rooms and shelters have helped reduce the human toll associated with these events, the cost of these structures is often too high for many that could benefit from their use. The development of a residential tornado safe room constructed from commodity wood building products, buildable by a local contractor or do-it-yourselfer, and adaptable to existing homes could lower the cost of these structures and result in more widespread use. In this study, impact tests were performed on a series of 8-ft by 8-ft wood wall sections according to the standard test criteria of ICC-500. Results indicate that a nailed and glued wall section constructed of three layers of 2 × 8 lumber and sheathed with 23/32-in. CDX plywood can consistently pass the impact test. Included in the test results are the effects of wall construction, sheathing and lumber type, and added adhesive on impact performance.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Falk, Robert H.; Bridwell, James J.; Hermanson, John C. 2015. Residential tornado safe rooms from commodity wood products: Wall development and impact testing. USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Research Paper. Madison, WI. FPL-RP-681. 20 pp.


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    tornado, tornado shelter, wood, impact testing, walls

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