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Name: Nathan
Status: educator
Grade: 6-8
Location: MI
Country: USA
Date: Spring 2010



Question:
I was wondering what combination of materials that would result in a weather resistant building but yet be a home that someone might want to live in?


Replies:
The term 'weather-resistant' really depends on time-scale. How long do you want the building to resist weather? Typical homes are build with materials that last for 10-20 years, but you could choose materials that last much longer than that. When you get into 50-100 year structures, you rely on metals that form a protective oxide layer, or stone. Organic materials (like caulk or asphalt) would no longer be appropriate. Many materials will break down when exposed to water -- steel, wood, plastics... If you want a structure to last hundreds of years the problem becomes even more challenging. Another key question is maintenance -- with proper maintenance, many materials can last decades -- but without maintenance, almost any structure will break down.

Hope this helps,
Burr Zimmerman


Nathan-- The Materials Research Society Fall 2009 meeting had a presentation on using chicken feathers as a viable building material. It was a talk given by Richard Wool of the University of Delaware. I think is was Symposium AA on 30.November.2009. A few links to the University of Delaware and the Materials Research Society are given below.

Materials Research Society

http://www.mrs.org/s_mrs/index.asp

University of Delaware ACRES Program

http://www.che.udel.edu/research_groups/wool/

---Nathan A. Unterman



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