April 12, 2000
A space-age material is being tested by cadets in The Citadel Civil and Environmental Engineering Department which may provide a solution for the renovation of Eastside Baptist Church at 584 Meeting Street.
Eastside Baptist Church was badly damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. As part of the renovation, the building must be stabilized and strengthened to resist the forces of potential hurricanes and earthquakes. The challenge lies in providing sufficient strength without adding significant weight to the building. Added weight would require major reconstruction of the existing foundations and notably increase the earthquake forces that would rack the building.
Borrowing technology from the aerospace industry, thin glass or carbon fabric layers are applied with epoxies to create a high strength, lightweight structural laminate designed to work with the existing structure to achieve the necessary strength and ductility the existing building needs. This same material could potentially be used to lessen the vulnerability of many existing buildings in the area including schools, bridges, and water processing tanks. Fiber composites provide a low cost alternative to conventional strengthening and repair techniques.
The Citadel testing program and the Eastside congregation are being supported by the product manufacturer Fyfe Company of San Diego and local engineering firm Lindbergh and Associates.