Current research at Florida International University (FIU) is enabling testing of entire structures at full-scale, leading to performance-based design for hurricanes through direct correlation of wind speed with performance and damage levels.
To perform hurricane mitigation research, the wind engineering team at the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) and College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) at FIU has built a full-scale “Wall of Wind (WoW) facility”. The WoW is viewed as being potentially as effective for wind engineering as crash testing, which led to the development of air bags and other safety features, was for the automobile industry. Engineers liken the WoW to shake table testing, which led to performance-based earthquake engineering.
The WoW facility can test to failure full-sized structures such as site-built or manufactured housing and small commercial structures. Current WoW projects, funded by federal and state agencies and by private industry, are offering focus and leadership in the urgently needed hurricane engineering research and education from an integrative perspective to quantify and communicate hurricane risks and losses, mitigate hurricane impacts on the built environment, and enhance sustainability of infrastructure and business enterprise, including residential buildings, low-rise commercial buildings, power lines, traffic signals, etc.
The synthesis inherent in WoW research will create a sound scientific basis for developing risk-based and performance-based design criteria, and contribute to the attainment of a national objective: achieving more sustainable coastal communities.
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For more information on the Wall of Wind, visit wow.fiu.edu.