Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Civil/Mechanical/Manufacturing Engineering
Room: Marriott Balcony B
Norman A. Burgos-León - University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Co-Author(s): Luis Suarez, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, PR; Carla López del Puerto, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, PR; Jossmarlyn Montañez, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, P
Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 20, 2017 in Puerto Rico causing major damage to the island´s critical infrastructure. Doppler transmission radars are the backbone of any national or local weather service system. The Weather Surveillance Radar Doppler (WSR-88D) located in Cayey, PR is a critical tool to warn residents of weather events before, during and after severe storms and hurricanes. The functional capability of these radars in the outcome of a weather-related natural disaster is highly dependent upon the resistance of the materials and structural components. During Hurricane Maria, the thirty-nine-foot-wide protective spherical dome composed of a fiberglass foam sandwich that encloses the sensitive electronic equipment was destroyed as the result of the strong winds. This presentation discusses the results of an analysis of the radar’s wind damages caused by the hurricane. It provides an overview of wind loading criteria for steel lattice structures using the minimum design loads for building and other structures prescribed in the ASCE 7-16 standard and based on FEMA recommendations for wind design. It presents the methodology that was used to develop a wind load analysis of the radar dome using a commercial finite element analysis software (ANSYS). A simulated wind tunnel with sustained winds similar to those during hurricane Maria was modeled to provide a forensic analysis of the damages to the spherical dome. Based on the preliminary results, it can be concluded that the radar may have failed due to the intensified wind pressures, due to the difference in pressures inside and outside the dome which caused higher forces inside the dome. In addition, there was a very high drag force due to high intensity winds of a hurricane category 4. The high stresses were concentrated at the center of the sphere, and they were aggravated by the radar location at the crest of the highest mountain in the area.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. HSI #1832468 (HSI program). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Faculty Advisor: Luis Suarez, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: In this research I worked on the methodology used to develop a wind load analysis of the radar spherical dome using a finite element analysis software (ANSYS). Simulating a wind tunnel with sustained winds similar to those during hurricane Maria and analyze the damage on the spherical dome that protects the radar. Also made the computations of the wind design minimum loads required by the ASCE 7-16 standard and adjustments recommended by FEMA.