NHERI Wall of Wind Experimental Facility

The NHERI Wall of Wind (WOW) Experimental Facility (EF) at Florida International University (FIU) was funded by NSF to be a national facility that enables researchers to better understand wind effects on civil infrastructure systems and to prevent wind hazards from becoming community disasters.

The NHERI WOW EF is powered by a combined 12-fan system capable of repeatable testing in up to 157 mph wind speeds through its flow management system. The unique advantage of the NHERI WOW EF is multi-scale (full-scale to 1:400) and high Reynolds number simulation of the effects of wind and wind-driven rain. This is accomplished using the twelve fans and a water spray system. In addition, the 16,000 sqft. fenced-off secure area enables researchers to plan and perform destructive tests for up to Category 5 Hurricane wind speeds. The NHERI WOW EF uses a wide range of equipment, instrumentation, and experimental simulation protocols, as well as a distinguished group of faculty, staff, and a well-trained team comprised of technical and operations personnel that allow for the delivery of world-class research.

The NHERI WOW EF provides the following experimental capabilities:

  • High-speed holistic testing at multiple scales in simulated hurricane wind speeds up to and including Category 5 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale
  • Destructive tests to study failure modes
  • Wind-driven rain simulations to study water intrusion
  • Full- and large-scale aerodynamic/aeroelastic testing in atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) flows at high Reynolds numbers
  • Testing under extreme environments to develop innovative mitigation devices
  • Conventional boundary layer wind tunnel testing in flows with various exposures and with full turbulence spectrum

NHERI WOW EF Resources

  1. 16,000 sqft. fenced-off secure area for wind testing.
  2. WOW apparatus (with 14 ft. high x 20 ft. wide test section), rain generation system, flow conditioning spires and roughness for atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) simulation, two Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) to control 12 WOW fans, 16 ft. diameter turntable, data acquisition (DAQ) system, video capture and surveillance system (all housed in a 8,000 sqft. WOW building).
  3. 3,000 sqft. pre-test specimen staging/construction/instrumentation (SCI) building with a fabrication shop and a small-scale boundary layer wind tunnel?.
  4. 1,344 sqft. air conditioned Operations and Control Center (OCC) for controlling, monitoring, viewing the tests, and providing telepresence.
  5. 1:15 small-scale WOW.
  6. Downburst Simulator.