Arindam Chowdhury, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the College of Engineering and Computing and director of the Laboratory for Wind Engineering Research at the International Hurricane Research Center has been awarded a CAREER Award by the National Science Foundation to fund research on the effect of hurricanes winds on buildings and structures.
Using wind tunnels, Chowdhury creates indoor hurricanes to improve the design of buildings in their paths. According to the award abstract, one objective of the award will be to “ascertain the effects of roof shapes and coverings on uplift pressures and the dynamic response of flexible roofing systems subjected to hurricane winds.” Chowdhury will be using full-scale testing in the 12-fan Wall of Wind (WoW) simulation laboratory at the College of Engineering and Computing.
The WoW is a one-of-a-kind full-scale testing facility generating sustained wind speeds up to 157 mph. The highest classification in the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale, category five, is reserved for storms with winds exceeding 155 mph.
This research is particularly relevant in South Florida where the previous recommendations based on WoW research by Chowdhury have influenced the Florida Building Code (FBC). The code modifications, reflected in FBC 2010, will influence wind loading on roof top equipment not only for Dade and Broward counties in Florida’s high risk hurricane zone, but also for the entire State of Florida.
Additional goals of the award include increasing the number of undergraduate students in hurricane engineering academic programs.