Development of devices and methods for simulation of hurricane winds in a full-scale testing facility

  • Huang, Peng (International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC), Florida International University, State Key Laboratory of Disaster Reduction in Civil Engineering, Tongji University) ;
  • Chowdhury, Arindam Gan (International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC), Florida International University) ;
  • Bitsuamlak, Girma (International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC), Florida International University) ;
  • Liu, Roy (International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC), Florida International University)
  • Received : 2008.08.07
  • Accepted : 2009.01.30
  • Published : 2009.03.25


The International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) at Florida International University (FIU) is pursuing research to better understand hurricane-induced effects on residential buildings and other structures through full-scale aerodynamic and destructive testing. The full-scale 6-fan Wall of Wind (WoW) testing apparatus, measuring 4.9 m tall by 7.3 m wide, is capable of generating hurricane-force winds. To achieve windstorm simulation capabilities it is necessary to reproduce mean and turbulence characteristics of hurricane wind flows. Without devices and methods developed to achieve target wind flows, the full-scale WoW simulations were found to be unsatisfactory. To develop such devices and methods efficiently, a small-scale (1:8) model of the WoW was built, for which simulation devices were easier and faster to install and change, and running costs were greatly reduced. The application of such devices, and the use of quasiperiodic fluctuating waveforms to run the WoW fan engines, were found to greatly influence and improve the turbulence characteristics of the 1:8 scale WoW flow. Reasonable reproductions of wind flows with specified characteristics were then achieved by applying to the full-scale WoW the devices and methods found to be effective for the 1:8 scale WoW model.


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