PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology


PATH: Advancing Performance Based Design through Full-Scale Simulation of Wind, Water and Structural Interaction

Florida International University

* Forrest Masters, Principal Investigator

Start: September 1, 2005
Expires: August 31, 2008


This project will use a new testing apparatus under development, the Wall of Wind, to reproduce the actual dynamics of wind and rain impinging on a low-rise structure at full scale.

The experimental configuration will consist of a modular array of 2-meter counter-rotating propeller fans that generate Saffir-Simpson Category 2 to 4 hurricane-force winds. To simulate turbulence and wind-driven rain typical of the hurricane boundary layer, an active control system will throttle the engines, articulate interlocking neutral-shape airfoils at the exit, and inject water into the flow field. The target wind field characteristics will be established from analysis of surface wind field data collected by the Florida Coastal Monitoring Program during recent tropical cyclone landfalls.

Through collaboration with industry and government, a series of experiments will be conducted to investigate:

  1. Vortex suppression technologies for low-slope roofs, soffit failures and design remedies, and measures to reduce water penetration in building walls and sub-systems.

  2. The accuracy of existing components and cladding testing procedures that simulate wind loading and wind-driven rain effects.

An additional aim is the development of relationships between the complex test methods employed by the Wall of Wind and simpler, less expensive test methods that can be routinely used for product certification.

For additional details about this NSF award.

Content updated on 9/26/2006

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