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CINDY DAY: Floored by science

Watching the weather helped solve a mystery!
Watching the weather helped solve a mystery! - 123RF Stock Photo

Science, according to one dictionary, is “the systematic study of the nature and behaviour of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement.”

Right up my alley!  As you might already know, I believe that nothing beats observation and few things make me happier than getting letters from readers, especially those who put everyday science to the test.  

Last weekend, this great letter from Mr. Harvey Freeman found its way to my inbox: 


When I read your article concerning the fact that pressure differences can cause headaches I was reminded of an experience I had where sheet rubber flooring was affected by storms.  

I am an architect and was given the job to solve a problem with blisters in a sheet rubber floor.  

This floor was laid on a concrete slab that was level with the adjacent parking lot.  The problem started soon after the building was occupied but initially the flooring contractor did repairs.  We were called several years after the project was completed and the flooring contractor was losing interest.

When we made our first visit we were told by the building manager that the blisters appeared and later disappeared.  He said he could tell when the blisters would appear by checking the short-range forecast.  He said the blisters rose as the storm approached and disappeared as the storm moved on.

There were about 50 blisters which ranged from a few inches in diameter and 1/8-in. high to a couple the size of a dinner plate which were one-inch high.  We eventually came to the conclusion that where the blisters were located there were slight depressions in the floor.  The sheet rubber floor spanned these depressions and was not adhered to the concrete.  The building manager’s original observation seemed to make sense.

The solution we used was to slit the blisters and work two-part epoxy adhesive in under the flooring and then weight down the patched area with sand bags for 12 hours until the epoxy had set.

I always say that nature is a giant classroom - and it is - but sometimes the learning comes indoors.

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.


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