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.

2021 Virtual Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge:

  • The objective of the 2021 virtual Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge is for students to design a way to reduce the impact of wind scour on a building’s flat roof. Each team’s task is to develop a wind mitigation solution that will prevent gravel on the flat roof from being blow away during testing by the real NSF-NHERI Wall of Wind.
  • 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.

2021 Important Dates:

  • WOW! Challenge virtual competition including the testing of the flat rooftops will occur the week of March 22nd.
  • Written Technical Papers are due by 5 pm on Tuesday, March 23rd.
  • Pick-up of high school team’s flat rooftops will be Wednesday, March 24th.
  • Recorded oral presentations are due by 12pm on Thursday, March 25th.

2021 Location of Virtual Wall of Wind Mitigation Challenge:

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

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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