The Wind Engineers:
Building a Hurricane-Safe House

Jeff Klinkenberg


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The University of Florida has an ambitious goal: to harness the power of its faculty, staff, students, and alumni to solve some of society's most pressing problems and to become a resource for the state of Florida, the nation, and the world.


Hurricanes and tornadoes--and the devastation they leave in their wake--are feared across the globe, but at the University of Florida these natural phenomena are a fascinating research opportunity. At UF's Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment, wind engineers like Forrest Masters and David Prevatt study storm systems and design buildings to better withstand the forces of nature. Follow their stories as they venture inside Hurricane Wilma with wind gauges, travel to Joplin, Missouri to assess the wind-damage from the most powerful tornado in more than a half century, and conduct experiments with the lab's infamous "Multi-Axis Wind Load Simulator," ominously nicknamed "The Judge." Yet the job of the UF wind engineers does not end there. They take their findings to the drafting table, build roofs and walls, and test shingles, shutters, and garage doors. Their goal: to make sure our houses are still standing, and we are safe, after the storm.


The stories chronicled in GATORBYTES span all colleges and units across the UF campus. They detail the far-reaching impact of UF's research, technologies, and innovations--and the UF faculty members dedicated to them. Gatorbytes describe how UF is continuing to build on its strengths and extend the reach of its efforts so that it can help even more people in even more places.

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