October 16, 2009
If you heard what sounded like cannon fire Friday afternoon in Charlottesville. Well, it was a cannon but it was probably not firing what you expect.
One air powered cannon firing 2x4s at over 100 mph. That was the scene Friday afternoon at Saint Anne's Belfield School. The targets were walls made of four different building materials. A wood frame and vinyl siding wall, a wood frame and brick wall, a brick and masonry wall, and a brick and insulated concrete form wall.
David Lourie, St. Anne's Belfield Head of School says, "We had our lower school construction day. Which was essentially a math and science fair all related to the new building. So we wanted to do a demonstration so they could see how strong the walls were going to be in the new building."
Insulated concrete form or ICF is made of 60% recycled material, has a high thermal mass, is 6 times quieter than than a regular frame home, and can withstand impact from category 3 hurricane force winds. Jay Mcneely, Co-Owner of Allied Concrete says, "We thought it would be a unique demonstration to show them how strong there new school is going to be. Literally it will be one giant, safe room."
Not only was this a great learning experience, but lets face it, shooting 2x4s out of a cannon, that's just cool! Lourie says, "By the looks of the students in there hats and how excited they were to do the countdown every time, I think they had a ball. And seeing that 2x4 explode into thousands of splinters, I think they will certainly remember this for a long time."