NHERI

New NSF-Funded Wind Research Center Aims to Reduce Property Damage, Protect Communities

Published on May 22, 2019

 

 

The first Industry Advisory Board meeting took place on March 21-22, 2019, at TTU.

The WHIP Center unites wind engineers and scientists from Florida International University (FIU) and Texas Tech University (TTU) with industry partners in insurance and construction.

 

NHERI wind researchers and facilities are part of a new, NSF-funded Industry–University Cooperative Research Center.

The Wind Hazard and Infrastructure Performance Center, or WHIP, is the first of its kind under the NSF IUCRC program. Researchers from Florida International University, Texas Tech University and Florida Institute of Technology will work with industries and government agencies to develop practical solutions for reducing the impact of hurricane, tornado and severe wind events on buildings and infrastructure. The center also will educate the next generation of wind engineering professionals.

FIU and TTU are the inaugural WHIP sites (award Numbers 1841503 and 1841523 respectively), and FIT is an affiliate to the TTU Site. The WHIP Center director is Kishor Mehta. Ioannis Zisis directs the FIU WHIP site; Daan Liang directs the TTU WHIP site; Jean Paul Pinelli directs the FIT affiliate Site.

Supporting the WHIP Center are eight commercial partners in the construction and insurance industries: AIG, AIR Worldwide, Berkshire Hathaway, GAF, RMS, SCOR, State Farm and Permasteelisa. Together, academe and industry will improve our nation’s ability to manage risk and improve resiliency of buildings and critical infrastructure against extreme wind hazards.

The WHIP Center’s principal research themes are assessment of wind hazards, estimation of exposure and vulnerability of buildings and infrastructures, and improvement of community resilience. With focused research, development and implementation in resiliency in infrastructure, the center’s goal is to reduce property losses and protect homeowners, businesses, and communities from wind hazards.

The WHIP Center provides expertise and equipment from the nation’s premier wind research facilities:

 

Florida International University
International Hurricane Research Center - NSF NHERI Wall of Wind Experimental Facility

  • Up to Category 5 Hurricane Wind simulations
  • Multi-Scale Testing (full-, large-, small-scale)
  • Destructive Testing (to predict progressive failures in buildings and infrastructure elements)
  • Wind-Driven Rain simulations (to study water intrusion)
  • Non-synoptic downburst wind flow facility
  • Automated roughness system
  • Automated 3-axis traverse system
  • Three component particle-image velocimetry (PIV) system and other state of the art pressure and load monitoring equipment

 

Texas Tech University
National Wind Institute
Reese Technology Center for field measurements and laboratory studies

  • 200-m tower for meteorological measurements
  • Ka-band mobile radars on trucks
  • Mobile StickNet for spatial field measurements
  • Tornado simulator (VorTECH)
  • Boundary layer wind tunnel
  • West Texas Mesonet
  • Debris Impact Facility (DIF)