CATHER-POUND DEMOLITION/WHAT TO EXPECT: Sound can carry a long distance

Calendar Icon Dec 21, 2017      Person Bust Icon By Karl Vogel     RSS Feed  RSS  -  Submit a Story

Erica Ryherd, associate professor of architectural engineering.
Erica Ryherd, associate professor of architectural engineering.

When the Cather and Pound residence halls are imploded and crash to the ground, the result will not only be a large pile of debris but likely also a loud boom that has the potential to be heard at a long distance thanks to the cold temperatures and precipitation in the forecast for the previous day.

Erica Ryherd, associate professor of architectural engineering, said the likelihood of cold and moist air on Friday morning would likely help the sound carry the sound much farther than if the demolition had taken place in the warmth of summer.

“Weather conditions can influence sound propagation,” said Erica Ryherd, associate professor of architectural engineering. “For example, on cold days the air close to the ground is colder than the air above it, which causes sound to refract or bend downward. This makes it possible to hear sounds farther away. High humidity can also cause sound to travel faster.”

The demolition and construction crews involved in the demolition will be wearing ear protection, but Ryherd said there are things people who are just outside the exclusion zone can do to protect their hearing from wearing protection that is rated with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) on the packaging or even staying indoors and watching from a window or online.

And while the actual implosion will last only a matter of seconds or up to a minute, Ryherd said people and buildings near the site could feel dangerous and long-term impacts without proper protection.

“Although the actual implosion will only last seconds, even short-duration exposures to very high sound and vibration levels can be dangerous to people and nearby structures,” Ryherd said. This could cause “issues such as short or long-term hearing loss or compromised structural integrity. The safety perimeters take this into account and the demolition crews will be monitoring both noise and vibration to meet regulations.”

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