AAMA Contributes Funds for Hurricane Research Equipment
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) is
contributing to funding to support the efforts of wind engineering
researchers at the University of Florida who are examining wind-driven
rain at structural height during hurricane landfall. Rich Walker,
president and chief executive officer of AAMA, announced the donation
of $60,000 to purchase a precipitation imaging probe (PIP), manufactured
by Droplet Measurement Technologies.
"Approval was expedited through AAMA's board of directors during
its National Summer Conference so that a critical measuring instrument
would be in place for recording hurricanes in the 2007 season,"
The probe is designed to capture high-resolution measurements of
rainfall intensity. Dr. Forrest Masters, assistant professor of
civil and coastal engineering, will deploy the instrument on a specially-designed,
rugged tower hours before a hurricane's landfall to capture the
storm's worst conditions. Using real-time cellular and satellite
uplinks, data from the PIP also will be available in real-time to
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologists
and state and federal emergency managers.
"Beyond the ability of a building to physically withstand hurricane
winds, water intrusion through windows, doors and walls remain a
recurring issue," says John Lewis, AAMA technical director. "Although
most residential and commercial buildings built to recent codes
will survive structurally, rain penetration often causes significant
interior damage, occupant displacement, business interruption and
extensive restoration expenses. Code officials, architects and manufacturers
of exterior building products are questioning the real-world effectiveness
of water intrusion test standards under hurricane conditions as
referenced by modern building codes."
The AAMA Southeast Region is currently developing a Voluntary
Specification for Rating the Severe Wind-Driven Rain Resistance
of Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights.
"Instead of the usual pass/fail measurements, this AAMA specification
applies a spectrum of pulsating pressure and rain loads and determines
how well a product performs in severe wind-driven rain," Lewis says.
"The research, underway at the University of Florida, will further
the value of the AAMA specification by quantifying hurricane-driven
rain and its effects on residential and light commercial construction."
Data from the PIP devices collected during this and upcoming Atlantic
hurricane seasons will be used to establish a catalog of "wind-driven
rain scenarios" for different storm intensities impacting various
terrains. The information will be used to calibrate the rain field
produced by UF's mobile windstorm simulator to recreate hurricane-force
winds and wind-driven rain at a sufficient scale to test low-rise
components and cladding systems. Utilizing four 700 hp Detroit Diesel
engines and hydraulic drive units to power eight 54-inch vane axial
fans, this apparatus will produce hurricane force winds and wind-driven
rain at its 10- by 10-foot exit.
Actual full-size structural mockups will be evaluated in realistic
hurricane conditions, according to Lewis. All research will be coordinated
with established program partners such as AAMA, as well as Florida
building code officials.