Recently, we sat down with award-winning architecture professor Dr. Shideh Shadravan to learn more about her structural engineering research at the University of Oklahoma Fears Lab.

Through collaboration with a team of engineers and students, Dr. Shadravan tests the safety of conventional construction methods under harsh conditions. Her team also looks at simple ways to improve construction methods that have big impacts.

Dr. Shadravan said her goal is “to develop new knowledge that has direct application to industry.” She continued, “I also want my work to have a direct community impact. We want to make homes safer for people.”

For example, her team recently tested different nail spacing for wood-frame home construction to improve the structural strength of the homes. Additionally, the team found that using double base plates, rather than single base plates, and using different washer sizes can also increase wall capacity.

Currently, her team is working to develop and test a better form of concrete for residential foundations. Working with a team of students, Dr. Shadravan is producing over 30 different batches of concrete. The team will then test these batches for shrinkage and other factors.

Dr. Stephanie Pilat, director of the OU Division of Architecture, said, “Dr. Shadravan’s research on how to make our buildings more resilient in the face of hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters promises to save lives.” Pilat continued, “OU is proud to facilitate this important work.”

Dr. Shadravan’s work has been supported with over $450,000 in funding and materials from industry partners, including local home builders, Home Creations, and the Institute for Business and Home Safety, among others.

To learn more, check out Dr. Shadravan’s video feature.

Dr. Shadravan talks about how her team’s work helps people live in safer places.