Homebuilding Smackdown: Science vs. Hurricane

January 6, 2018

The top reason to study engineering in college: Wall of Wind. Yay Science!

Florida International University's fifteen-foot-tall Wall of Wind (WOW) is used to test structures and building materials against hurricane-force winds—such as those that pummeled Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico in 2017.

"When we have 12 of them running at top speed, we have 8,400 horsepower."

—Arindam Chowdhury, Civil Engineer, Florida International University

Recommendations from the lab are sent to building code officials, and many of them are now part of the Florida building code. Product manufacturers also test their products under hurricane conditions to assure performance. Sometimes the products handle the hurricane better than the structure that the products are attached to, but that information is helpful nonetheless.


—This video is from the National Science Foundation and the research was funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009