Campus Highlight: Wall of Wind
The Florida International University (FIU) campus is not only vibrant and beautiful, but also full of points of interest for various academic programs. One of the most notable campus highlights, (particularly to engineering students) is the Wall of Wind (WOW) research facility – which is the nation’s first university research facility capable of simulating Category 5 hurricane winds!
The Wall of Wind (WOW) experimental facility was funded by the National Science Foundation to be a national facility that enables researchers to better understand wind effects on infrastructure systems and to prevent wind hazards from becoming community disasters. The WOW is powered by a combined 12-fan system capable of repeatable testing in up to 157 mph wind speeds with wind-driven rain simulation! This is accomplished using the twelve fans plus a water spray system. The 16,000 square ft. fenced-off secure area enables researchers to plan and perform destructive tests for up to Category 5 Hurricane wind speeds using a wide range of equipment, instrumentation, and experimental simulation protocols.
With a test section 15-feet high by 20-feet wide, the Wall of Wind allows researchers to test and analyze how structures and products perform in various hurricane conditions. The Wall of Wind research team has already had a significant impact in mitigating hurricane damage by enhancing building codes, validating innovative mitigation technologies, and developing new materials. In fact, the team has a patent pending for a new type of roofing material! Recommendations made as a result of Wall of Wind testing were published in the 2010 Florida Building Code. The new code provisions are geared toward decreasing the vulnerability of roofs and rooftop equipment.
Find out more about the Wall of Wind here: https://fiu.designsafe-ci.org/events/upcoming-events/