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RAP opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology     NIST

Wind Hazard Characterization and Building Performance Evaluation for Hurricane Maria


Engineering Laboratory, Materials and Structural Systems Division

opportunity location
50.73.11.C0415 Gaithersburg, MD

NIST only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Joseph A. Main (202) 480-7389


The resilience of communities exposed to extreme weather events depends on the continued functionality of critical buildings such as hospitals and storm shelters. During Hurricane Maria, numerous hospitals in Puerto Rico lost function as a result of damage to the building envelope (e.g., windows, roofs, and rooftop equipment), even though the damage to the structural system (e.g., beams, columns, and load-bearing walls) was quite limited. Current standard and code provisions for wind-resistant design of buildings are based on prescriptive provisions that do not adequately consider interactions between the structural system and nonstructural components, such as the building envelope.

The U.S. construction industry has recognized the need for a new generation of performance-based standards for wind-resistant building design, to enable the design of buildings to meet enhanced performance objectives, such as continued functionality during hurricanes. This research will advance performance-based design for wind through the development of analysis methods to integrate the results of wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations in evaluating the performance of critical buildings in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria. The mountainous topography of Puerto Rico resulted in significant wind speedup effects in certain locations that substantially increased in the wind loads, and such topographic effects on the wind environment will be investigated using wind tunnel testing of topographic models in conjunction with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. Advanced wind tunnel testing of building models will be performed to simulate topographic effects on the incoming wind profile and to evaluate the resulting wind loads on the building envelope, including selected rooftop equipment, as influenced by neighboring buildings. Advanced analysis methods will be developed to evaluate building performance, considering temporal variations in the wind speed and direction and accounting for directionality in both building aerodynamics and topographic effects.

key words
buildings; wind engineering; performance-based design; wind tunnel testing; topographic effects; computational fluid dynamics; Hurricane Maria


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$82,764.00 $3,000.00
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