By Jordan Moss/College of Engineering
Students at UTSA are encouraged to come out on Oct. 13 and hear from one of the leading researchers in wind engineering. Arindam Chowdhury, an associate professor of wind engineering and director of the laboratory for wind engineering research at Florida International University (FIU), will be speaking at 3:45 p.m. in the Engineering Building in room 3.04.30.
At FIU, Chowdhury works at the university’s Wall of Wind (WOW) facility performing research that is utilized to help coastal communities sustain less damage during hurricanes. The largest and most powerful university research facility of it’s kind, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has designated the 12-fan WOW as one of the nation’s major experimental facilities under the NSF’s Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) program.
Chowdhury is encouraging members of the UTSA community to learn about the work being done at the WOW.
“The faculty and students are invited to come out and get an understanding of the various resources and services provided at the NHERI Wall of Wind,” Chowdhury said. “They (faculty and students) will get to learn about the various cutting edge projects being performed at the facility and learn the process for using the NHERI Wall of Wind facility based on NSF projects.”
Currently, Chowdhury is conducting research that is enabling, for the first time ever, innovative testing of full-scale structures fully engaged in simulated hurricane flows. The data collected will lead to performance-based design for structures to help withstand hurricanes.
The WOW facility has proven the effectiveness of large-and-full-scale holistic testing approaches when it comes to understanding the impact hurricanes can have on buildings and other infrastructure elements, such as electrical infrastructure and traffic. Holistic testing consists of testing of systems made up of integrated assemblies of components, as opposed to individual component testing.
Individual component testing can be misleading as it misses the interaction effect of different components of a structure, which can often be decisive in understanding of why infrastructures fail. Research conducted at the WOW facility has resulted in the implication of improvements to the Florida building code’s wind load provisions on building roof-mounted equipment for the state of Florida, including in its high velocity hurricane zones.
The insurance industry sees the WOW testing as a development potentially as beneficial for wind engineering as crash testing was for the automobile industry, according to Chowdury’s abstract entitled Wall of Wind Research and Testing to Enhance Resilience of Civil Infrastructure to Hurricane Multi-Hazards. In the civil engineering community the WOW is being compared to shake table testing, which has significantly contributed to performance-based earthquake engineering.
Chowdhury received his Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from Iowa State University in 2004. His research at Iowa State University focused on flutter instability, an aeroelastic self-excited oscillation that can occur mainly in suspension or cable-stayed long-span bridges. He received the Iowa State University Research Excellence Award in the spring of 2004 in recognition of his outstanding research accomplishments in the field of Wind Structure Interaction.
For more information on the WOW please visit https://wow.fiu.edu.