Which Is Stronger? Comparing Reinforced Concrete Buildings Vs Steel Buildings In Tornadoes

By Adrianna Noton

Often, a hurricane, earthquake, or tornado takes the world by surprise and it is definitely not a pleasant one. Although the weatherman may have been able to give a little bit of notice, enough to go out and stock up on milk and bread, it is certainly not enough time to start ensuring your building is safely built. If you know that you will be living in a place that tends to get tornadoes, it is crucial to plan before you move what type of place you want to move into so that you will be sure that your family is as safe as possible. But when you compare reinforced concrete buildings vs steel buildings in surviving tornadoes, which one comes out ahead?

You should be responsible and only look to move to a building that meets certain criteria because once the tornado is on its way, there is no time for anyone to begin to make your place stronger. Whatever it has in place already is the tools that will have to suffice when the storm strikes, so naturally, you hope that it is a strong structure to begin with.

If you choose your place wisely and know that it is the best you can possibly get in your area and has the highest rate of making it through a storm, then you are probably in good hands should one hit. You should also be aware that even if you are safely far away when the tornado arrives, your stuff will not be protected by insurance because most companies steer clear of covering circumstances such as these.


As of now, scientists and researchers are saying that your best bet is a steel building as opposed to a concrete structure. They have found that those made of concrete are more likely to crumble in a very strong wind, while steel has the capability of bending slightly and moving along with the storm. This level of flexibility is key in allowing it to make it through the worst of times.

Instead of simply trying to withstand the storm stoically, steel is able to yield to its force. This is better to deal with the intensity than the resistance of concrete because by simply resisting, this material reaches its capacity with a lower-level tornado. The yielding is critical in being able to make it throw even the worst of storms.

There is another plus to steel, which comes in the forms of metal conductors within the frame. These conduits can move the waves of the shock around the building, allowing the entire structure to share in the burden of the hit, rather than one area being forced to withstand it alone. This is another key factor in being a safe choice when a storm hits.

It goes without saying that there is more to a strong structure than simply the material that it is made out of. If the building is not well-designed and the engineers did not plan it out well, than it will be tough to stand up to even the smallest of tornadoes. In cases such as these, a concrete building that was well-built would be a wiser choice than a steel one that was not.

The other important thing to note is that there are times, unfortunately, where the storm is too strong for both kinds of structure. Reinforced concrete buildings versus steel buildings in surviving tornadoes will not make a difference because it is just too intense. The good news is that these types of tornadoes are very rare and hopefully, it will not happen in your lifetime.

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Source: isnare.com

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