“… In a new $62 million, 5-year program, the network of doomsday machines is expanding to simulate hurricanes and tornadoes and is joining forces with computer modeling to study how things too big for a physical test, such as nuclear reactors or an entire city, will weather what Mother Nature throws at them…”
PHOTO: Researchers at OSU, Corvallis, unleash tsunamis in a wave basin. © Aurora Photos/Alamy Stock Photo
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it has selected the Wall of Wind (WOW) Facility as one of the nation’s major “Experimental Facilities” under the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) competition.
PHOTO: FIU’s Wall of Wind
Building code provisions, particularly for the Miami-Dade High Velocity Hurricane Zone, have been revised and tightened in the last two decades based on lessons learned from previous storms. But until FIU’s Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) introduced the Wall of Wind (WOW) – the largest and most powerful university storm research facility – it was impossible to gauge just how South Florida construction would fare in the face of a major storm. By the fall of 2014, the Wall of Wind — in partnership with Miami-Dade County – will have completed tests on how well different building products hold up under different natural disaster scenarios.
PHOTO: Arindam Chowdhury says Wall of Wind testing will help determine which construction products will fare best in stormy conditions.
The National Building Museum's exhibition, Designing for Disaster, examines how we assess risks from natural hazards and how we can create policies, plans, and designs yielding safer, more disaster-resilient communities.
PHOTO: “Designing for Disaster”, National Building Museum, Washington DC. Installation view. © Allan Sprecher, courtesy of the National Building Museum
USAID is working with the university to ensure the safety of their structures. These structures are being tested at FIU’s Wall of Wind to ensure their safety. USAID‘s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is working with researchers at FIU’s Wall of Wind to test the strength and design of transitional shelters used by the organization in areas that have been hard hit by disasters. Sturdier than a tent but not as strong as a house, the structures protect individuals until they can find a permanent home.