Damages during extreme wind events highlight the weaknesses inherent in coastal residential building construction and underscore the need for improving the structural performance of typical residential buildings. Also, there is a tremendous concern for the existing stock of buildings that are not sufficiently designed and constructed to an acceptable building code. Conducting research to better understand simultaneous hurricane-induced wind, rain, and debris effects on the built environment will lead to innovative design technologies that can mitigate hurricane wind damage. The International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) at the Florida International University (FIU) has developed a new research approach to better understand categories 1 to 5 hurricane-induced effects on residential buildings and other structures through full-scale, destructive testing, much the same way that the automobile industry tackled the crash worthiness issue or the earthquake community approached building safety. This research will foster the development of novel mitigation techniques to improve our built environment's resilience to hurricane impact. To develop these advanced techniques, we will subject test models of representative building structures or appropriate portions of such structures to hurricane-induced wind–rain–debris effects in a controlled and repeatable environment using the Wall of Wind testing apparatus developed by the IHRC. Through such full-scale destructive testing, performance-based evaluation, and failure-mode analysis, innovative mitigation techniques will be developed. Wall of Wind experimentation has the potential for revolutionizing our building and retrofitting practices.

You do not currently have access to this content.