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What's left in the path of Katrina holds valuable information

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Tags: London| Olds| Ontario| Mississippi| Business| Communications| Design| Engineering| Environmental Engineering| Media| Natural Resources and Environment| Secondary Education| Hurricane Katrina|

September 19, 2005

Source: University of Western Ontario:

What's left in the path of Katrina holds valuable information

London, ON. - The structural damage left in the path of Katrina holds valuable information and Greg Kopp wants to help capture it before the rebuilding begins. Kopp, a civil and environmental engineering professor with The University of Western Ontario, arrived in the hurricane affected region this morning to assist in a massive technical engineering investigation being headed by the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) in the U.S.

Over the next five days, Kopp expects to take about a thousand pictures when deployed to examine house damage due to wind, wind-borne debris, fallen trees, etc., in Biloxi, Gulfport and other towns in Mississippi. The IBHS objective is to conduct a post-disaster investigation to collect data on how houses fared in the devastated areas. Kopp's trip is also expected to assist him in his capacity as a principal investigator on the 'Three Little Pigs' project.

"By studying the structural and secondary failures in residential construction we can learn how to make stronger houses that are still cost-effective. We will also be able to better connect actual performance in extreme weather conditions to wind tunnel studies and other research in order to improve building codes and practical implementation for builders." The 'Three Little Pigs' facility is now under construction in London, Ontario. It's the first of its kind in the world that will allow researchers to simulate and study realistic damage to houses from wind, snow and rain - all within a controlled environment.

Before Katrina hit, Kopp's research on turbulence and aerodynamics of structures was helping engineers change North American building design codes so that structures like bridges and houses could withstand the high winds associated with tornadoes and hurricanes.

Kopp is available for interviews while in the U.S. this week and upon his return.

To connect with Kopp, please contact Douglas Keddy, Research Communications Coordinator, at (519) 661-2111, ext. 87485; or Christine Roulston, Media Relations Officer, at (519) 661-2111, ext. 85165.

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