Video: Terraformer wind tunnel takes hazards engineering research to a new level

February 22, 2017 by Miles O'brien, National Science Foundation

Wind engineer and 13th generation Floridian Forrest Masters knows how to ride out a hurricane. In fact, hurricanes have become his life's work. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Masters and a team at the University of Florida are developing a world-class facility with new technology to help engineers and scientists better understand the high wind storms that batter communities along U.S. coastlines. This facility is part of NSF's $62-million investment in Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI).

NSF-funding supports new tools, such as the Terraformer wind tunnel, which can dial up any type of terrain in 90 seconds, and a second high-speed simulator that can generate winds over 230 miles per hour.

NHERI has the broad goal of supporting research that will improve the resilience and sustainability of civil infrastructure—such as buildings and other structures, underground structures, levees, and critical lifelines—against the of earthquakes and windstorms, in order to minimize loss of life, damage and economic loss.

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