Associate professor Clay Naito, civil and environmental engineering, is working to develop next-generation building envelope systems for enhanced resistance to natural and manmade hazards. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recently granted his support for his project, entitled "Proof of concept low-cost energy efficient multi-hazard resistant wall system."

Through this work, Clay focuses on creating a new way to enable infrastructure and buildings to withstand events such as explosions and impact from wind- or water-borne hazards. This effort will enhance understanding of how insulated wall panel envelope systems can provide thermal efficiency and blast resistance while containing costs – key considerations for many federal, military, and industry construction efforts.

The system under development by Clay and his team in Lehigh's renowned ATLSS Engineering Research Center relies on an innovative shear tie connector and a supporting design approach. The project will address current knowledge gaps in the field, including the ideal shape and strength of the connectors, and verification and validation thereof. The complete system will also be verified under explosive loading to verify the dynamic capabilities of the systems. The team involved in this project, including undergraduate and graduate students, will gain valuable technological insight and technology translation experience through the proof-of-concept development and market opportunity investigation with partner firms and trade organizations.

Dr. Clay Naito, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lehigh University