Faculty of EngineeringThe University of Western Ontario

The Three Little Pigs Research Project at
The Insurance Research Lab for Better Homes

Facilities and Equipment

The Insurance Research Lab for Better Homes is a test facility for subjecting a full-scale specimen house (or other light-frame building) to realistic, simulated, and extreme environmental loading due to wind, snow, and rain.  It is envisaged that a typical cycle of testing for a single specimen, culminating in structural tests to destruction, will last one to two years.

Detailed Drawing of entire facility

The full-scale house will be instrumented to capture:

  1. While under simulated loads: (1) forces in essential components of the load-resisting system; (2) global deflections of the overall specimen and local deformations of components.
  2. While under ambient wind and simulated rain: (3) external and internal pressures generated by the ambient wind loads; (4) rain characteristics and moisture penetration data; and (5) the growth and airborne propagation of mould.

An innovative pneumatic loading system will be designed using modular "pressure boxes" to apply time-varying pressures and suctions over the entire exterior surface of the specimen.  Final loading criteria are presented being established, although it is envisaged that pressures (or suctions) as high as 20 kPa over small (0.3m x 0.3m) areas or 12 kPa over larger (say 5m x 5m) areas will be applied, and the loading may cycle at frequencies up to 1 Hz.

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