Faculty Member Earns $300,000 Grant for Hurricane Damage Research

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Hurricanes and the damage they cause are never far from the minds of most Floridians. Acting on this concern, Florida Tech associate professor of civil engineering, Dr. Jean-Paul Pinelli, applied for and earned a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to work on a wireless sensor network for monitoring wind impacts. Pinelli is the director of the Florida Tech Wind and Hurricane Impact Research Laboratory (WHIRL). 

The network will monitor pressures on roofs of buildings and can be valuable for measuring and characterizing hurricane wind loads on structures. “We will directly monitor the impact of hurricanes on structures at landfall in an intensive field deployment program,” said Pinelli. “We believe this will provide much needed full-scale data on wind-induced structural stress during hurricanes.”

The research will proceed in stages over a period of three years and combine analytical and experimental studies. It will be integrated into the Florida Tech undergraduate curriculum as projects that College of Engineering students may choose as a requirement for graduation.

Supporting this effort are Florida Tech faculty members, Dr. Chelakara Subramanian, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Dr. Ivica Kostanic, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, as co-principal investigators.

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