|Watch the Discovery Channel video, "Cargo Crate Testing"|
In late January, the Discovery Channel aired an episode of its show Daily Planet, covering the work of associate professor Clay Naito’s work in understanding the impact of tsunami-borne debris on the built infrastructure.
Naito and colleagues from the University of Hawaii and Oregon State are developing a model they hope will provide justification for a new tsunami chapter being added to the national code – ASCE 7 – that specifies the loads structures must be designed to handle.
To test the forces involved in debris impact, the Lehigh team hoisted a standard, 3.5-ton, 20-foot intermodal shipping container on 30-foot cables. Fully loaded, one container can weigh 53,000 pounds, more than enough to severely damage a structure. The 40- and 50-foot waves of the March 2011 Tohoku tsunami tossed thousands of these containers like sticks at Japanese ports.