How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

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How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:18 am

I'm wondering if there is any expertise/thread/data for the mechanism by which typically-constructed yurts fail in high wind conditions, and whether there have been attempts to address those failure points.

By "typical," I mean one constructed of 4x8 foil-backed rigid insulation, taped w/ 6" bifilament tape, and generally following a Danger-type construction method as described on the boards here...

It makes sense that taller or stretched yurts are exposed to higher wind loads, and would fail more often when all other factors of construction are equal.

But when these shelters do fail due to wind loads, do we have (anecdotal or compiled) reasons for the commonest points of failure? Something along the lines of the comments in Section Two 6> here, or the Google forum discussion here.

Do the seams themselves generally hold?
Do we know if taping both sides is worth the expense/effort?
Does the roof tend to separate from the walls?
Does a rope anchor provide a too-narrow seam against which the material folds?
Does an anchoring mechanism with some elastic give in the strap mechanism do better than one with inelastic straps tightly tensioned?
Do anchoring stakes pull out more typically than the anchoring straps fail?

I am personally inclined to overbuilding, perhaps b/c I am not the brightest candle in the temple. Tempted toward thicker material; 6" tape both sides; reinforced seams (a physical plate of some type spanning wall and roof-wall joints); robust anchoring...blah blah blah. This is partly to keep my tender ass from being exposed to the elements, but mostly to prevent this: :oops:

I understand the simplistic answer to failure points is "all of the above," but it's not very useful, and all that does is perpetrate failure because it avoids focusing on areas that can be improved upon. While any number of inadequate builds might be a cause of failure, there would be a typical mechanism of failure for a well-built, properly-spec'd, rigid insulation yurt exposed to a high wind load. I want to focus my improvement effort there.

But I'm wondering if anyone is in a position to comment on how failure actually occurs most often. I'm also wondering if we know how much more likely high, or stretched, designs fail. Does a crappily-built standard yurt hold up better than a well-built tall yurt, for example?

Given Vinay Gupta's interest in scaling this idea to the world, I'd hope that formal tests of some kind have been done for various approaches and modifications. I would love to see that kind of data. Is there any? The only thing unique to the BM itself is the anchoring technique into the playa firma, and I'm pretty sure that can be effected such that the anchor itself can be taken out of the failure loop...

Or is the whole better-built yurt a lost cause 'cuz the next guy over has an unanchored item that is going to take down my yurt when the wind blows even if I am the brick house pig?

ETA: Canoe's helpful data on tape (thank you!) here. However I'd like to assume that construction technique itself is sound (e.g. wrt tape, use 6" bifil; wipe away dust and clean off surface oil; align accurately...)

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by LowePro » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:33 am

I witnessed a minor yurt failure in my camp last year, and 2014 was not a super windy year. Seems the panel with the front door is a common point for failure. The cutout for the door, the additional weight of the door, and the constant open/closing tends to make this a weak point. This was a H13 yurt (the one with the taller doorway) so that might have been part of the issue as well. Basically the vertical seams along the hinge-side of the door panel started to come untaped during a windy day. We retaped with extra wide tape inside and out, and everything turned out fine. It we hadn't caught it early and re-taped, the whole panel might have been ripped off, leading to TYM syndrome (Total Yurt Meltdown). in Hindsight, reinforcing the door frame with lumber would be plus.

Another yurt fail: forgetting to plug the drain of the cooler stored in the yurt. Water collects on tarp floor. Panels soak up water and crumble on the lower edge This happened toward the end of the week, but I think my buddy decide to scrap the wet panels entirely and rebuild.

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by trilobyte » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:48 am

The standard design, when built as directed and properly staked, holds up pretty well. I've seen a few go down in rough weather, but who's to say whether the yurt builder in question covered all the bases. Changing or modifying any of the basic/standard shade hardware designs is always a matter of trial and error, and something you should do based upon your experience/expertise.

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Elderberry » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:00 am

Regarding engineering calculations, this would be the guy to talk to "FossaFerox". You might search his posts, as I think I recall him doing something regarding yurt calculations.

We have been using Yurts since Green Man and have never had a failure. (Knock on Wood) We connect a 4' walled yurt to a 6' walled yurt. We tape inside and out. We use the standard tape anchors and not the halo. An important thing to do is make sure if you are building a new yurt that you actually wash the panels with something like Dawn dish soap, as the manufacturing process leaves a bit of an oily covering that will effect the tape adhesion. (We found this out in our back yard on the first test we ever did.)

We've never had a problem with the door walls and have never reinforced them in any way. (Other than all walls are taped to the tarp both inside and out which helps with stability and more importantly helps keep dust and water out. (We buy 3" tape for that as it's less expensive and not structural.) We use 3" tape for attaching the windows and shutters as well. (shutters being the cut-out for the windows taped at the bottom to hinge open.) We also weather strip the doors using 6" tape placed on the top and non-hinged sides on the outside of the door and the inside of the corresponding walls so that the tape overhands the door/wall by 2.5". (Hard to explain, but it works like a charm.)

Try to make sure that your door doesn't face into the wind either.
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by forrest Gump » Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:06 pm

I have no technical data on hexayurts failures but I do have real world experience. A few years ago I decided to build a hexayurt. Long story short I arrive on the playa a week early and as I was setting up the wind picked up before I could stake it down. It actually imploded, more or less blew up like a balloon then popped. It failed at the point where the top meets the sides. Everything was damaged except the door which I had reinforced with plywood. I had the standard hexayurt fully folding "H12", 12- 4' x8' panels

The next morning talking to our neighbors they told me they lost a carport secure with 2 foot playa staples. My camp mate lost his awning on his camper. One of the ranger they told me the winds hit 70 mph. Another hexayurt across the playa for me that was properly staked down did not even budge. I have used one ever since and never had a problem another problem.

Tips that I learned from my experiences.

1. When you transport your hexayurt you need to use sheet of plywood on the top and bottom of the “sandwich”, bolt one of the pieces of plywood to the door using fender washers (large diameter so they do not pull through the foam). Cut out the plywood in the shape of the door and angle it inward when you cut the foam so it will only open in one direction (out). The door is the weak point by attaching the plywood you make it the strongest part of the yurt. I use a gate latch with a string going inside. I tie a washer on the end of the string so my camp mates cannot pull the string outside and trap me, Oh that is so funny, really guys...

2. Use the halo to secure your yurt and do not place anchor rope on vertical taped gaps.

3. Use the 6 inch film fiber tape. Get an extra roll this stuff is great in a pinch.

4. Be totally prepared to set up your hexayurt quickly. It is amazing to me that such fragile parts once set up they are extremely strong.

5. Check and tighten anchor lines every day. Use a knot you can keep tightening on your anchor lines like a Tautline Hitch knot. I use 2 foot kandy-Kane rebar and have never had a problem.

6. Take an extra piece of tape and make a little channel above the door for rain. During the down pour last year this was the only place water came in, just a few drips.

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by maladroit » Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:12 pm

I can only provide data for a hexayurt that has not failed during some fairly mild years. A big dust devil ran over it and nothing happened, but no 70MPH sustained gusts.

It's made with 2" walls and 1.5" roof panels. Camp Danger hinges, no plywood reinforcing the door. The pic below is of the first year on playa...a larger tarp was used the second year. It was staked down on six sides with cheap ratchet straps and a rope halo, then reinforced with a secondary paracord halo. The second year, some wind did loosen one of the wall joints where I'd neglected to re-tape carefully enough. Fixed with some more 6" tape before anything bad happened.

I'd say the most important thing to have is patience. Wait until you haven't felt more than a slight breeze for an hour, then gather your team and assemble the hexayurt as fast as possible. Don't lift the roof without already having the halo and anchor straps in place. The more people on your team who have built a hexayurt before, the better.

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:07 pm

Man, you've got all the right BM stuff going' on there. The quiet generator, the solar, the FIGJAM cooler, the big yurt, the Beast fat-tire bike...
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by maladroit » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:15 pm

I'm pretty happy with the setup. That was 2013, first year of the Beasts. Had two of those. Found a big round rug that fit inside the hexayurt, we had a shikibuton mattress in there along with shelving, a folding table, cooler, chairs, and drapes on the ceiling (don't have any pics of that). I put another angle below showing the utility trailer doubling as a kitchen (no shade though).

I'd be sad to see the hexayurt get torn apart in a windstorm and spend the rest of the week in the backup tent...so I didn't get fancy with changes to the tried and true design. Just a standard H12. No skimping on tape type or width (you see people asking in the hexayurt thread about using packing tape or whatever). With the rainstorm last year, I'm going to stop leaving out the final step of trimming the ground tarp to fit, and taping it to the walls to make it rainproof.

This thread is interesting because I'd also like to see how they fail...so far it's been mostly during setup before everything is strapped down. But if they fail other ways, I'd like to prevent it. Maybe reinforcing the door panel would be a good idea.

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:00 am

These are fantastically good replies, and I am deeply appreciative of the time taken to post them.

Thank you all, so much!

jt

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Elderberry » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:44 am

Maladroit, why do you use two halos? Just extra precaution? I've always used the original tape anchors, but I'm thinking of switching over to using the halo anchoring method this year. Seems easier.
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by maladroit » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:53 pm

Paranoia. Well, plus the fact that the ratchet straps and the rope halo are both cheap Home Despot crap. The paracord is only rated for 550 pounds, but I figure it adds some measure of additional protection. This year I may attempt a less haphazard solution using loops of mule tape, with no element rated for less than 1000 pounds.

I like the rope halo, but am very conscious of the fact that if the halo fails, then your hexayurt is NOT TIED DOWN AT ALL ANYMORE. So having more than one halo seems like a good idea.

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Canoe » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:31 pm

They fail typically due to people substituting materials or technique that are not proven on the playa. The may not adhere well enough, or tear, or the heat causes the adhesive to let go. Or they use narrower tape and wonder why it didn't have the strength in the wind. Or the rope are a point-load on the edges in a blow when the original method of guy-lines joining with bi-filament tape going up over the roof. Many get away with cutting corners.

And others don't. Will it be a low-wind year or a heavy-wind year? Will there be a micro-burst over top of your camp. etc.

You may be interested in
https://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic ... 77&t=65276
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Fri May 08, 2015 3:51 am

Canoe wrote:They fail typically due to people substituting materials or technique that are not proven on the playa. The may not adhere well enough, or tear, or the heat causes the adhesive to let go. Or they use narrower tape and wonder why it didn't have the strength in the wind. Or the rope are a point-load on the edges in a blow when the original method of guy-lines joining with bi-filament tape going up over the roof. Many get away with cutting corners.

And others don't. Will it be a low-wind year or a heavy-wind year? Will there be a micro-burst over top of your camp. etc.

You may be interested in
https://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic ... 77&t=65276
I did see that and I was interested. Very interested. Thanks so much for the info and taking the time to post it.

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Elderberry » Fri May 08, 2015 6:41 am

Canoe wrote:Or the rope are a point-load on the edges in a blow when the original method of guy-lines joining with bi-filament tape going up over the roof.
What exactly are you saying here? That the "Halo" method of attachment is not as good as using the original "tape anchors"?
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by lucky420 » Fri May 08, 2015 6:55 am

I use the original style tape anchors.

This year I'm building the H13 (original style but with a full size door). No more stooping over to get in and out! Weeeeeeeeeeeeee 8)
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Elderberry » Fri May 08, 2015 12:50 pm

lucky420 wrote:I use the original style tape anchors.

This year I'm building the H13 (original style but with a full size door). No more stooping over to get in and out! Weeeeeeeeeeeeee 8)
We do one with 6' high walls, which makes the door opening 5' 6". You definitely have to remember to duck your head, but it's a damn site better than having to bend over to get under a 3'6" door. Let me know how much more difficult the build on-playa is compared to the more symmetric shape.
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by digital » Fri May 08, 2015 1:02 pm

Elderberry wrote:
lucky420 wrote:I use the original style tape anchors.

This year I'm building the H13 (original style but with a full size door). No more stooping over to get in and out! Weeeeeeeeeeeeee 8)
We do one with 6' high walls, which makes the door opening 5' 6". You definitely have to remember to duck your head, but it's a damn site better than having to bend over to get under a 3'6" door. Let me know how much more difficult the build on-playa is compared to the more symmetric shape.
Did you guys notice this new design from GLAMCOCKS? It's perfect for me and solves the annoying door problem!

http://www.appropedia.org/Octayurt

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Canoe » Fri May 08, 2015 1:28 pm

Elderberry wrote:
Canoe wrote:Or the rope are a point-load on the edges in a blow when the original method of guy-lines joining with bi-filament tape going up over the roof.
What exactly are you saying here? That the "Halo" method of attachment is not as good as using the original "tape anchors"?
Correct. Compared to tape anchors that go onto the roof and continuously over to where the guyline attaches on the other side. Load is spread by the width of your tape. Like the Halo, it's effectively continuous ground to ground. (If you only have additional pieces of tape that you attach to the yurt, then you're dependant on the adhesive holding... How good is that adhesive. How old is that tape.)

With a rope/webbing halo, there's a concentrated load on the edges of the panels where they go over the edges. Obviously webbing is better at not point loading the edges.
Would only matter in an extreme wind, which is a shame because Halos are so easy to setup.
Certainly worthwhile having a Halo to quickly anchor during setup, and as a secondary to the tape anchors. Philosophy of redundancy in methods, not just in numbers.

I also "believe" in running the guylines out some from the base of the yurt, to form a healthy triangle (yurt wall, ground, guyline), to help hold the top of the wall in place laterally in a heavy wind. This puts it into vertical and horizontal components of the guylines, but it's easy to get good guylines and good anchors.
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Elderberry » Fri May 08, 2015 2:13 pm

i saw someone use that door design on a standard hexayurt awhile back. I came very close to trying it; thank goodness I didn't. It really messes up the structure. And considering the "tension band" is structurally important (and actually a characteristic of what makes a yurt a yurt), I think I lucked out by waiting.
digital wrote:
Elderberry wrote:
lucky420 wrote:I use the original style tape anchors.

This year I'm building the H13 (original style but with a full size door). No more stooping over to get in and out! Weeeeeeeeeeeeee 8)
We do one with 6' high walls, which makes the door opening 5' 6". You definitely have to remember to duck your head, but it's a damn site better than having to bend over to get under a 3'6" door. Let me know how much more difficult the build on-playa is compared to the more symmetric shape.
Did you guys notice this new design from GLAMCOCKS? It's perfect for me and solves the annoying door problem!

http://www.appropedia.org/Octayurt
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by lucky420 » Fri May 08, 2015 2:34 pm

im really not to worried about using the door design in regards to the tension tape going all the way around the yurt. Yes I know its a concern but I think it will be fine. We will double up the tape around and reinforce the door.

and haven't seen that design digital. interesting...
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Elderberry » Sat May 09, 2015 7:23 am

lucky420 wrote:im really not to worried about using the door design in regards to the tension tape going all the way around the yurt. Yes I know its a concern but I think it will be fine. We will double up the tape around and reinforce the door.

and haven't seen that design digital. interesting...
I wasn't referring to the door on the H-13 Lucky. I don't know anything about that design and so can't comment on it; my interest is how easy it sets up compared to the standard 6 sided yurts.

The door design that I actually saw fail was the one that extended the door into the roof similar to the way it is shown in digital's octayurt. The H-13 doesn't use that design.

(Regarding the tape band, years ago, when i first saw the Hexayurt at Green Man, I did a lot of reading on yurts, and it sort of stuck in my mind that the main feature that made a yurt a yurt was the tension band. However now, there are so many different designs that have evolved from the original and the name "yurt" is still being applied. For burning man at least, it appears that the definition of "yurt" has changed/expanded to include any structure made from 4' x 8' insulation panels. Which if OK It's a lot easier to refer to them as "yurts" rather than "our living structure made from 4' x 8' insulation panels". :) )
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by lucky420 » Sat May 09, 2015 8:09 am

Ah okay. Thanks for clearing that up.

I'm with Dye with Dignity in BArbie Death Camp so if you come by either and want to check out my yurt stop by.

And that goes for anyone else here too :coffee:
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Elderberry » Sat May 09, 2015 9:26 am

lucky420 wrote:Ah okay. Thanks for clearing that up.

I'm with Dye with Dignity in BArbie Death Camp so if you come by either and want to check out my yurt stop by.

And that goes for anyone else here too :coffee:
I always try to make a point of stopping by and saying hello to Tamara, so I'm looking forward to seeing you too and checking out the yurt. (I stopped by last year early, and the only two people that were there were Tamara and Ken. Do you ever arrive early to help setting up?
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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by lucky420 » Sat May 09, 2015 12:46 pm

Yes arrived early last year and will do so again this year. Even if I'm not there and the yurts up, go ahead and check it out if you'd like
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: How do wind-loaded yurts typically fail?

Post by Shoeshine » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:25 pm

Only anecdotal, but...

I used a modified 6' stretch design last year that worked well. Designed to get a higher door 5' 6" in this case and much more standing area inside. Made a world of difference in user friendliness. I have given up on both tape anchors and halo. I use a truck bed cargo net over the top held down by ratchet straps and lag screws. I feel that it distributes the load more equally over a larger area.

It did phenomenally on the pre-event Sat blow. (we were @ 5:45 with no wind break. several flattened tents and our neighbors had a massive shade structure taco) My only point of failure was where I missed an inside tape seam near the bottom of the windward side. (door being on leeward) the large back panel started to walk inward at the bottom, slightly pulling apart the outside tape seam. Luckily, I was home and a quick re-tape solved the issue.

Wish I had real life pics but here is the design.

[attachment=1]hexi Mk4 plan.JPG[/attachment][attachment=2]hexi Mk4.JPG[/attachment][attachment=2]hexi Mk4.JPG[/attachment]
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