Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge

Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge Overview:

The International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC), located on the campus of Florida International University (FIU), has developed the Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge (WOW! Challenge) for South Florida high school students. This community education outreach project is graciously supported in large part through a grant from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Wall of Wind Challenge
The NHERI Wall of Wind (WOW) Experimental Facility (EF) located at FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to be a national facility that enables researchers to better understand wind effects on civil infrastructure systems and to prevent wind hazards from becoming community disasters. The WOW is the largest and most powerful university research facility of its kind and is capable of simulating a Category 5 hurricane with winds over 157 mph. Essentially, it is an array of 12 very large electric fan motors that are used to test structures, materials and products and their ability to withstand hurricane force winds.
To learn more about the NSF-NHERI Wall of Wind, please visit: https://fiu.designsafe-ci.org/

The WOW! Challenge is a judged competition. Teams of high school students are challenged to develop an innovative mitigation concept and solution within well-defined guidelines developed by the WOW Research Team. Student teams prepare three components for the competition to address the hurricane wind mitigation challenge: a physical test, an oral presentation and a written technical paper. The mitigation concepts are tested by the WOW on the day of the live competition.
The WOW! Challenge requires problem solving, teamwork, and creativity, and the topics of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, architectural design, and business entrepreneurship. The high school students are inspired to pursue STEM education and careers in wind engineering and hurricane mitigation and be the next generation of engineers to address natural hazards and extreme weather. The competition has real world applications and benefits society as a whole by developing hurricane mitigation techniques that can lead to enhanced human safety, property loss reduction, insurance cost reduction, and a culture of hurricane preparedness.

2024 Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge:

  • The objective for the 2024 WOW Mitigation Challenge is to design a wind mitigation barrier that will provide the best wind mitigation for a Miami Beach condominium property. Imagine a six-story condominium building situated along the beach, and between the building and the beach is an outdoor leisure area that needs to be protected from wind off the Atlantic Ocean. Theoretically, this leisure area could include things like a pool, activity/entertainment space with a small pavilion and seating area. The wind mitigation barrier model will be wind tested by the NSF-NHERI Wall of Wind experimental research facility at FIU to evaluate the effectiveness of the mitigation solution.
  • The competition will require a written technical paper, an oral presentation and a physical wind test of a building model by the NSF-NHERI Wall of Wind. For all the details, please refer to the specific documents describing the exact instructions found in the WOW! Challenge Documents section below on this web page.
  • Teachers can have as many students as they wish to participate in the Challenge. However, teams can only have up to four students be the official participants representing the team, and they would do the oral presentation. But, all other students and teachers on the team can assist with preparing all three components for the Challenge.

2024 Important Dates:

  • The Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge is Thursday, March 21st, 9am to 12:30pm
  • Written technical papers are due electronically as a PDF document by Monday, March 18th at 12:00pm.
  • Pick-up or drop-off of wind mitigation barrier models will be Tuesday, March 19th.

2024 Location of Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge:

  • NSF-NHERI Wall of Wind at FIU’s Engineering & Computing Center.

    10555 W. Flagler Street, FIU Engineering Center, Miami, FL 33174

For more information or questions, please contact:

Erik Salna, M.S.
Associate Director for Education and Outreach
International Hurricane Research Center
Extreme Events Institute, an FIU Preeminent Program
Florida International University
Office: 305-348-1146
Cell: 954-818-8175
Email: esalna@fiu.edu


WOW! Challenge Results:

WOW! Challenge Documents:

WOW! Challenge Powerpoints:


WOW! Challenge Videos:


WOW! Challenge Media:


WOW! Challenge Technical Library:


WOW! Challenge Related Links:

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