Windspeed testing equipment to help Tyndall Air Force Base airmen

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A windy day on Tyndall Air Force Base provides ideal conditions for research on how one of mother nature’s strongest forces acts upon structures like a full-scale ‘large area maintenance shelter’ called “LAMS” for short.

“This was an optimal location to set up because we do see high winds here and the effects can be devastating on lightweight structures—whether they’re fabric or metal,” said Maj. John Stiles, Airbase Aqcuisitions’ program manager.

Temporary facilities like LAMS are designed to protect fighter aircraft as well as remotely-piloted aircraft from the elements and provide a safe place for maintainers to work.

“Building a more resilient structure will end up saving the air force money, time, resources, and providing better facilities for airmen,” Stiles said.

Air Force Civil Engineer Center experts are partnering with Auburn University’s engineering department on this very unique academic research.

“These structures — whether they’re used for the military or whether they’re used for civilian applications, they house important things—individuals, equipment—and if we don’t really understand how they perform, we could be overlooking an important mechanism that might lead to a collapse and collapse is never good, and in some cases, it leads to fatalities of the individuals inside,” said Dr. Justin Marshall, associate professor of civil engineering at Auburn University.

“We very rarely, and I don’t know if it’s ever been done to this scale, been able to capture local site conditions — the windspeed and temperature — and then simultaneously measure the forces that are going through the building… so that is from purely a wind engineering/wind structure interaction research problem as well, this is just going to be a fantastic data set for us to be able to learn from even beyond this project,” said Dr. David Roueche, assistant professor of civil engineering at Auburn University.

Around 80 gauges and sensors around the LAMS collects and analyzes 10 data samples every second during the year-long research project.

“As the wind rotated with the hurricane, we got it from all sides of the building—a 360-degree coverage in the building—so that makes it a researcher’s dream so now we know that the data is valid whichever way the wind blows,” Stiles said.