Snow is Live Load? Explain different types of Snow Load in details with example.
Snow load refers to the weight of snow accumulated on a structure or its components, such as roofs, beams, or decks. It is an important consideration in regions where snowfall occurs, as the weight of accumulated snow can exert significant forces on a structure, potentially leading to structural failure or damage. Snow load calculations take into account factors such as snow density, duration of snowfall, and the shape and slope of the structure.
Here are some common types of snow load with examples:
- Uniform Snow Load: Uniform snow load refers to the evenly distributed weight of snow on a horizontal surface, such as a flat roof or a level deck. This type of snow load assumes that the entire surface is covered with a uniform depth of snow. The design snow load is determined based on historical data and regional snow load maps, which provide guidance on the expected depth and density of snow for different locations.
- Drift Snow Load: Drift snow load occurs when wind causes snow to accumulate in specific areas, creating deeper snow drifts. This type of snow load is common on roofs, especially in areas with high wind speeds or complex roof geometries. Drift snow load calculations take into account factors such as the wind direction, roof slope, adjacent structures, and obstructions that may affect the snow accumulation pattern. Structural engineers design roofs and other components to withstand the additional load imposed by drifts.
- Partial Snow Load: Partial snow load refers to the weight of snow accumulated on only a portion of a structure. It may occur when there are overhangs, projections, or variations in roof slope that result in uneven snow distribution. The calculation of partial snow load involves determining the snow depth and density on the affected areas and considering their contribution to the overall snow load on the structure.
- Rain-on-Snow Load: Rain-on-snow load occurs when rain falls on an existing snowpack, causing the snow to become wet and significantly increasing its weight. This situation is common in regions where temperatures fluctuate around freezing point during winter. Rain-on-snow load calculations consider factors such as the rain intensity, duration, and the amount of water that can be absorbed by the snow. Structural engineers design structures to withstand the additional load imposed by the wet snow.
- Sliding Snow Load: Sliding snow load refers to the force exerted by sliding or avalanching snow on a sloped surface, such as a roof or a hillside. Sliding snow can accumulate in large quantities and rapidly transfer loads to the underlying structures. The calculation of sliding snow load involves considering factors such as the slope angle, snow density, and the potential for snow movement. Structural engineers design structures to resist the forces generated by sliding snow.
Accurate assessment and consideration of snow load are crucial in the design of structures to ensure their stability and safety during winter conditions. Structural engineers use snow load standards, regional snow load maps, and meteorological data to determine the appropriate design snow load for a specific location. They then design the structural components, such as roofs, beams, and supports, to withstand the expected snow loads, preventing structural failure and minimizing the risk of damage.