NHERI Experimental Facility Renewal Grant

NHERI Experimental Facility Renewal .


  • The Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a distributed, multi-user national facility to provide the natural hazards engineering research community with access to research infrastructure that includes earthquake and wind engineering experimental facilities, cyberinfrastructure (CI), computational modeling and simulation tools, high performance computing resources, and research data, as well as education and community outreach activities. Originally funded under program solicitations NSF 14-605 and NSF 15-598, NHERI has operated since 2015 through separate, but coordinated, five-year research infrastructure awards for a Network Coordination Office, CI, Computational Modeling and Simulation Center, and Experimental Facilities, including a post-disaster, rapid response research facility. Information about NHERI resources is available at the NHERI web portal (https://www.DesignSafe-ci.org). Awards made for NHERI contribute to NSF's role in the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). NHERI Experimental Facilities will provide access to their experimental resources, user services, and data management infrastructure for NSF-supported research and education awards. This award will renew the NHERI Twelve-Fan Wall of Wind (WOW) Experimental Facility at Florida International University to support wind engineering research and education from January 1, 2021 to September 30, 2025. The WOW is a large wind simulation facility with cutting edge capabilities, including large- and full-scale testing of building systems, components, and other structures in wind speeds up to and including hurricane Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale (157 mph and above), with a wind-driven rain option. The facility will provide access and expertise to users across the nation, including annual user workshops, to support frontier research and education to prevent wind hazard events from becoming community disasters by advancing knowledge and fostering transformative mitigation measures. The facility will provide educational experiences for K-12, undergraduate, and graduate students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and related fields from academic institutions across the U.S. Educational activities will include: (1) hosting external undergraduate students for hands-on training under the NHERI Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, (2) promoting learning-by-teaching with graduate students serving as mentors for the undergraduate students, and (3) continuing the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program for middle and high school teachers to work with students and facility staff to generate new knowledge and translate it into classroom educational materials. The facility will help foster a diverse research community of students, teachers, faculty, and professionals to collectively address the nation’s hazard-related challenges and achieve wind-resilient communities.The facility will provide unique experimental capabilities for wind engineering that do not exist at other U.S. universities at comparable scale. With its twelve-fan, large wind field cross section, rain generation system, and automated flow conditioning roughness and spires for atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) simulation, the facility can simulate realistic hurricane wind speeds for various exposures. The facility's experimental capabilities include: (1) high-speed holistic full- and large-scale testing in simulated ABL flows at high Reynolds numbers (Re) to minimize scaling errors, (2) system-level destructive testing to study progressive damage and failure of components and connections to improve designs, (3) wind-driven rain simulations to study water intrusion through building envelopes, and (4) testing to assess innovative mitigation devices to attenuate wind damage and rain infiltration. Recently, the facility expanded its capabilities to include downburst simulation and whole-flow-field and fluid-structure interaction characterization at high Re. These new capabilities will enable high fidelity measurements to provide experimental data for validating computational simulations, thereby reducing future reliance on physical testing. Research conducted at the facility will provide new knowledge to improve current design standards and practices. Experimental data generated from research conducted at this facility will be archived in the Data Depot on the NHERI web portal.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

date/time interval

  • January 1, 2021 - September 30, 2025

sponsor award ID

  • 2037899