Development of Test-Based Wind-Driven Rain Intrusion Model for Hurricane-Induced Building Interior and Contents Damage Dissertation

(2014). Development of Test-Based Wind-Driven Rain Intrusion Model for Hurricane-Induced Building Interior and Contents Damage . 10.25148/etd.FI14040817

thesis or dissertation chair


  • Baheru, Thomas


  • Major portion of hurricane-induced economic loss originates from damages to building structures. The damages on building structures are typically grouped into three main categories: exterior, interior, and contents damage. Although the latter two types of damages, in most cases, cause more than 50% of the total loss, little has been done to investigate the physical damage process and unveil the interdependence of interior damage parameters. Building interior and contents damages are mainly due to wind-driven rain (WDR) intrusion through building envelope defects, breaches, and other functional openings. The limitation of research works and subsequent knowledge gaps, are in most part due to the complexity of damage phenomena during hurricanes and lack of established measurement methodologies to quantify rainwater intrusion. This dissertation focuses on devising methodologies for large-scale experimental simulation of tropical cyclone WDR and measurements of rainwater intrusion to acquire benchmark test-based data for the development of hurricane-induced building interior and contents damage model. Target WDR parameters derived from tropical cyclone rainfall data were used to simulate the WDR characteristics at the Wall of Wind (WOW) facility. The proposed WDR simulation methodology presents detailed procedures for selection of type and number of nozzles formulated based on tropical cyclone WDR study. The simulated WDR was later used to experimentally investigate the mechanisms of rainwater deposition/intrusion in buildings. Test-based dataset of two rainwater intrusion parameters that quantify the distribution of direct impinging raindrops and surface runoff rainwater over building surface — rain admittance factor (RAF) and surface runoff coefficient (SRC), respectively — were developed using common shapes of low-rise buildings. The dataset was applied to a newly formulated WDR estimation model to predict the volume of rainwater ingress through envelope openings such as wall and roof deck breaches and window sill cracks. The validation of the new model using experimental data indicated reasonable estimation of rainwater ingress through envelope defects and breaches during tropical cyclones. The WDR estimation model and experimental dataset of WDR parameters developed in this dissertation work can be used to enhance the prediction capabilities of existing interior damage models such as the Florida Public Hurricane Loss Model (FPHLM).

publication date

  • March 19, 2014


  • Impinging rain
  • Large-scale testing
  • Low-rise building
  • Raindrop size distribution
  • Surface runoff
  • Tropical cyclone
  • Wall of Wind
  • Wind-driven rain

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)