Wind Science and Engineering Research Center
|Wind Science and Engineering Research Center|
|Location||Lubbock, Texas, U.S.|
The Wind Science and Engineering (WISE) Research Center at Texas Tech University (TTU) is an interdisciplinary research center focused on education and information outreach. Its goals are to exploit the useful qualities of wind and to mitigate its detrimental effects. The Center offers an education in wind science and engineering to develop professionals who are experts in design for windstorms and wind-induced effects. Currently, the WISE Center is composed of approximately 25 faculty associates from 7 academic departments, 4 research associates, 8 professional staff, and 40 graduate students. It is also the home to the only Wind Science and Engineering doctorate program.
The Wind Science and Engineering Research Center was established in 1970 as the Institute for Disaster Research, following the F5 Lubbock tornado that caused 26 fatalities and over $100 million in damage. Following the aftermath of the tornado the WISE center developed the first comprehensive wind engineering report of its kind. In 2006, the Enhanced Fujita scale was developed at TTU to update the original Fujita scale that was first introduced in 1971.
The Texas Tech campus hosts the center's administrative offices as well as the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel and Wind Library. The Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel is a closed wind tunnel offering a 1.8 m (5.9 ft) by 1.2 m (3.9 ft) test section that is capable of producing up winds speeds of up to 45 m/s (100 mph). The facility also hosts a tornado vortex simulator and a Pulsed Jet Wind tunnel, which is used to simulate thunderstorm downbursts. The WISE center's Wind Library boasts one of the largest collections of wind related material in the world. The collection includes Ted Fujita's papers, reports and photographs, which were donated by the Fujita family and the University of Chicago. The library also includes documentation of more than 100 wind storms.
The WISE Center occupies 56,000 square feet (5,200 m2) of indoor laboratory space and has large field test site at the Reese Technology Center. Some of the facilities housed at the Reese Center include a 200 meter data acquisition tower, used to measure and record atmospheric conditions at ten levels, the Debris Impact Facility, the Great Plains Wind Power Test Facility, and a weather balloon facility. The Reese Center is also home to several radar systems including a SODAR, Low Level Profiler, and the SMART-R Mobile Radar.
Some of the center's wind energy research goals are the assessment of the risk and effects on wind turbine exposure to extreme wind events, the improvement of wind turbine design codes with emphasis on extreme wind events, and the analysis and testing of utility-scale wind turbines for use in less-energetic wind conditions. The center is also focused on the identification of advanced wind-driven water treatment and desalination systems for municipal and other applications, as well as the full scale testing of wind-driven water desalination systems and the development of modeling codes for integrated wind-water desalination systems.
The WISE Center performs tests on storm shelters and their various components to see if they meet established Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Storm Shelter Association guidelines. The Debris Impact Facility houses a high-powered air cannon that shoots wooden two-by-fours at shelter walls to simulate flying debris.
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- "Research Facilities - Wind Library". The Wind Science and Engineering Research Center. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
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