Wall of Wind

It’s been 20 years since Hurricane Andrew, and this summer the Museum is honoring the anniversary of the storm with a brand new Hurricane exhibit. Tragic and heroic stories from Andrew’s survivors are told, and now, the Museum is expanding the exhibit to include realistic interactive experiences that allow visitors to study hurricanes and their effects in the same way that scientists do. In the “Wall of Wind” activity, you can use a touchscreen to choose building materials and design strategies for a building, and then turn on virtual hurricane winds to test the strength of your structure. It’s just like what real scientists and engineers do at the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University. There, the real Wall of Wind consists of 12 fans, each 6 feet tall and with 700 horsepower, and can generate winds of up to 157 miles per hour – reaching category 5 hurricane strength. The goal is to see how buildings respond to “test hurricanes,” so that we can be as ready as possible for the real thing.

Future scientists test the strength of their building against a small-scale wall of wind

The real Wall of Wind at Florida International University

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