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The Wind Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, tested 6-inch insulating concrete walls and several other wall systems to determine their resistance to flying debris during a tornado or hurricane. The tests were performed using a compressed air cannon to propel a 15-pound 2x4 wood stud (missile) at over 100 miles an hour at the test walls. (It should be noted that the standard tests for building materials used in hurricane regions is a nine (9) pound object traveling at only 34mph!)
The 6-inch insulating concrete wall performed with flying colors while the wood frame and steel frame walls failed miserably, even when covered with brick veneer.
|Wall Type||Test Wall Specs||Debris Speed||Results|
|ICF||The 4' x 4'6" insulating concrete wall test panel was filled with 3000 psi concrete and a #4 rebar at 24" o.c. vertically and #4 rebar at top and bottom horizontally. A 1/4" thick EIFS stucco was applied directly to the wall.||15lb wood stud fired at 103.8 mph||The wood stud broke and splinted into pieces after penetrating the foam but did no observable damage to the concrete in the insulating concrete wall.|
|Wood||A 2 x 4 wood frame wall with 3/4-inch plywood sheathing and a 4-inch brick veneer was tested by firing a||15lb wood stud fired at 69.4 mph||Even at this slower speed, the wood stud perforated through the entire wall with little damage to the wood stud (missile).|
|Steel||2 x 4 steel frame wall covered with 1-inch of foam insulation and an EIFS stucco system||15lb wood stud fired at 50.9 mph||Went through the wall completely with no damage to the wood stud.|