The mission of the Wind Hazard and Infrastructure Performance Center (WHIP-C) is to enhance the resiliency of buildings and infrastructures to resist the extreme winds of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other windstorms.
Windstorms have a severe effect on society by causing large numbers of fatalities and injuries and devastating damage to residential, commercial, and industrial buildings as well as power, communication, transportation, water, and other lifeline systems. Over the last 20 years, windstorms have caused more than $300 billion in insured losses in the United States alone. The total losses are estimated to be twice that number.
WHIP-C develops methods and tools for preventing wind hazards from becoming disasters. Its objectives are to seek solutions to real-world problems encountered by the industry; transfer knowledge gained from fundamental research to products and intellectual properties that benefit both the industry and researchers; and develop long-term strategies for enhancing the resiliency of buildings and infrastructure to wind hazards.
WHIP-C members are primarily from the insurance, risk-modeling, and construction industries. The construction industry plays a key role in reducing the vulnerability of the infrastructure, while the risk-modeling industry strives to provide accurate and credible assessments of the risk. The insurance industry benefits from reduced vulnerability and better understanding of the risk, leading to more affordable insurance and more resilient and sustainable communities.
The principal research themes of WHIP-C are characterization of wind hazards; assessment of exposure and vulnerability of buildings and infrastructure; and enhancement of community resilience.
Characterization of wind hazard
The research agenda includes better characterization of wind hazard for a community or a location and improved understanding of wind speed and direction in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other extreme windstorms within the boundary layer. Field measurements and statistical analyses of the measurements are pursued to yield results that help industry partners.
Assessment of building and infrastructure vulnerability
WHIP-C conducts research to better understand the wind loading on structures and the load effects. The outcomes of this research are converted to methods and tools for improved assessments of the exposure and vulnerability of buildings and infrastructure to wind hazards.
Enhancement of community resilience
The resilience of a community lies in the robustness of its buildings and infrastructure and its ability to recover quickly from damage caused by windstorms. Innovative new building products and approaches to retrofit building and infrastructure systems can improve resiliency. WHIP-C pursues research that uses analytical methods and experimental testing to develop products for enhancing community resilience.