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Posted by on Sep 21, 2012 in Technology |

Simulating a Category 5 hurricane

Simulating a Category 5 hurricane

The tropical cyclones (which are framed by the tomentas intensity tropical hurricanes or typhoons) can produce strong winds and waves, floods or tidal waves that can wreak havoc in populated areas. In the collective memory still very present the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for example, has led to realizase track very close to Hurricane Leslie . As in areas of high seismic activity performed multiple simulations and tests in constructions (plus robust designs in buildings), in areas prone to hurricanes trials could also be applied to provide greater robustness and resistance to buildings or any civil works (bridges, dams, etc.). With that idea in Florida International University have long been developing the first Category 5 hurricane: the project Wall of Wind (WOW) .

According to the scale Saffir-Simpson hurricane , a Category 5 is the most itensidad that could occur and, the truth is that its effects would be negligible if we consider that we are talking about winds in excess of 250 km / h that could destroy the roofs of the buildings and, of course, lead to the evacuation of the civilian population of the affected area.

In order to improve the resistance of buildings and observe, within a controlled environment, the effects of hurricanes, Florida International University (and within it the Wind Engineering Department of the university) decided to address the construction of that simulator is unique today Category 5 hurricanes that exists in the world and is part of the International Hurricane Research.

The project, which cost $8 million investment of funds of the University, the Department of Energy of the U.S. federal government and some private initiatives, has been under development for almost 20 years (at which conducted the first demonstrator with 2 fans) to a structure formed by 12 large fans (about 700 hp each) that can generate a stream of air traveling at about 252 kilometers per hour and also can also be simulated storms and rain thanks the water injection system has been installed.

Why build a simulator as well? The idea, indeed, came 20 years ago when South Florida suffered the ravages of Hurricane Andrew and caused some damage valued at 27,000 million dollars, something that perhaps could be prevented constructions to submit essays, and improving the construction techniques and the materials (in the same way as the design of a bridge is subjected to tests in a wind tunnel that does not occur as in the Tacoma bridge ).

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