Thursday, July 8, 2010

Universities to monitor impact of floods on UK heritage sites

The Engineer (UK): A new interdisciplinary research project will monitor and predict the impact of floods and driving rain on historic buildings to try and protect them for future generations. The risk of flooding is likely to increase owing to climate change and the effects of increased urban development. The 2007 flooding in the south west and the 2009 flood in Cumbria have shown that substantial structural damage can be caused by events such as these to heritage buildings and infrastructure.

The PARNASSUS project brings together engineers and conservationists from Bath University, archeologists from Southampton University and geographers and materials engineers from Bristol University to predict how historic structures react when subjected to flooding and driving rain.

The researchers will survey the effects of past floods and use flood and climate change modelling tools to assess the risks of future flooding for heritage sites selected by the National Trust, Historic Scotland and English Heritage. The project will investigate the effect of water saturation on the structural integrity of the buildings and measure deterioration caused by freezing and thawing.

Cold weather can cause water trapped in the masonry to expand, leading to the cracking and damaging of the structural strength of the building. Part of the study will be to assess past levels of the deterioration of sites to identify which types of buildings are most vulnerable to freeze-thaw damage….

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, England, shot by WyrdLight-McCallum Photography, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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