Hurricane Wind Simulation and Testing to Develop Damage Mitigation Techniques. Grant

Hurricane Wind Simulation and Testing to Develop Damage Mitigation Techniques. .


  • The first objective of this research project is to simulate hurricane effects to study hurricane-structure interaction in full-scale, facilitating better understanding of the combined impacts of wind, rain and debris on the built environment at spatial and temporal scales. The second objective is to develop a novel, cost-effective, light, strong, ductile, and non-intrusive roof-to-wall connection system using high performance fiber composite materials, to improve hurricane resiliency of residential buildings. The human and financial toll from hurricanes of the last few years has been immense. Thousands of lives have been lost and billions of dollars worth of property have been destroyed. More importantly, the public's belief in the effectiveness of its built environment and its ability to withstand the brutal forces of nature has been shattered. Engineered structures are vulnerable to damage from hurricane induced wind, rain and debris, though the combined impacts are not well understood. Damages during these extreme wind events highlight the weaknesses inherent in coastal residential building construction and underscore the need for improving their structural performance. This work addresses two high priority areas for hurricane research, namely, "Impacts and Interactions" and "Preparedness and Building Resiliency", as recommended by the NSB (2006). The research will advance knowledge pertaining to hurricane-structure interaction in full-scale by capturing some of the intricate flow separation, vortex generation, and re-attachment phenomena and their effects on structures and components built with real materials. Combined effects of hurricane wind, rain and debris will be studied to assess the multi-objective system performance to improve safety and serviceability conditions through performance-based engineering. The work will integrate two very important aspects of hurricane research and address the Nation's need for understanding extreme windstorm effects on structures and improving the resiliency of coastal construction (including new construction as well as retrofitting of old construction) in a similar way that the automobile industry tackled the crash worthiness issue or the earthquake engineering community approached building safety. The team's expertise in wind-structural interaction and high performance composites and the available resources for full-scale testing will help to achieve the research goals.Integration of this research project with education will be accomplished by assigning various aspects of the research to undergraduate and graduate students as senior-design, masters, and doctoral topics. Wall of Wind Contests, with student and industry participations, will be held to brainstorm and test innovative mitigation concepts, thus transferring the technology from academia to field applications. These activities will help in developing a trained workforce of students and professionals with needed expertise. Research accomplishments by current students will make a positive impact in bringing more women as research participants. Wall of Wind will act as a multi-user research facility and serve various disciplines such as Civil, Architectural, and Construction. PIs will seek to collaborate with other universities in the US and abroad. Wall of Wind will be home to a laboratory for engineering coursework which will create an atmosphere for mentoring multi-disciplinary students. Research results will be disseminated widely through peer-reviewed journal and conference publications, and reports to policy makers and building code committees to improve current standards. The research is expected to benefit society as a whole by developing hurricane mitigation techniques that will lead to human safety, property loss reduction, insurance cost reduction, and develop a "culture of preparedness" to natural disasters.

date/time interval

  • September 1, 2007 - August 31, 2010

sponsor award ID

  • 0727871