State of the Art Large Scale Testing for Wind to Enhance Infrastructure Resiliency and Develop Energy Efficiency Buildings

The IHRC in conjunction with the College of Engineering and Computing are both involved in the phased development of the WoW facility capable of testing structures at full or large scale in a controllable, programmable, and repeatable environment in flows simulating atmospheric winds and wind-driven rain.  Wall of Wind (WoW) simulator — a unique research tool to enhance infrastructure resiliency and develop energy-efficient buildings — is an electrically driven 12-fan system designed to generate wind speeds of up to 65 m/s (145 mph).

In 2010 the IHRC received Department of Energy funds to expand the Wall of Wind infrastructure.   The WoW system, including the twelve fan-motor units as well as the two Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) to control the fans, were purchased using funds from the State of Florida.  DOE funds were used to arrange the fans in a 2 rows by 6 columns array. The array was supported by a custom designed framing system. To boost the wind speed to 65 m/s (145 mph) a contraction device was developed at the downwind end of the fan framing system. The contraction device was equipped with a flow management system to generate the requisite wind field. Electrical equipment and connections were then required from the switch rooms to VFDs to properly operate the 12-fan system.

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