The World’s Most Powerful Fan System Can Reproduce a Category 5 Hurricane

The Wall of Wind is the world’s largest wind simulator, an impressive contraption capable of generating winds of up to 157 mph, comparable to those registered during Category 5 hurricanes. In order to better protect against the devastating force of hurricanes, you first have to study them and test various materials against the powerful winds they generate. With this idea in mind, engineers at the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) and College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) at Florida State University spent 15 years building and perfecting the Wall of Wind. The installation consists of a total of 12 giant fans. A recent study showed that trees begin to break at wind speeds of 93 mph, regardless of age, diameter, or elastic properties. Thanks to an integrated water-injection system, the Wall of Wind is capable of simulating horizontal wind-driven rain, allowing engineers to test structures and materials against both wind and rain damage caused by hurricanes. Small buildings can be placed on a turntable in front of the Wall of Wind, so that they can be hit from all angles to detect possible weak spots.