Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Erik Salna, International Hurricane Research Center, Miami, FL

The Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge is a judged competition involving high school students from South Florida. The students brainstormed innovative wind mitigation concepts within a well defined problem scope developed by the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC), located at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Florida. The objective of this year's Challenge was for students to design a way to reduce the impact of wind scour on a building with a flat roof. Each student team was supplied with a model flat roof which would be attached to a building model representing a one-story building. Each team's task was to develop a mitigation solution that would improve the building's aerodynamic performance in order to prevent gravel on the roof from being blow away by hurricane-force winds. The mitigation solutions were then tested by the FIU-IHRC Wall of Wind, which is a large research facility capable of simulating a Category 5 hurricane. The students focused on developing hurricane mitigation techniques that lead to human safety, property loss reduction, insurance cost reduction, and a "culture of preparedness" for natural disasters. This experience also increased student interest in STEM education and careers in areas related to wind engineering and hurricane mitigation. South Florida media attended and distinguished hurricane experts participated as judges, including Max Mayfield, with WPLG-TV, ABC-TV, and formerly Director of the National Hurricane Center.