Assistant Professor Forrest Meggers and Professor Guy Nordenson Receive Award for Innovative Research in Energy and the Environment

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Assistant Professor Forrest Meggers and Professor Guy Nordenson are part of a team that has received a 2018 award for Innovative Research in Energy and the Environment from Princeton University's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. The project, “Climate Forces Across Scales: Analysis of Fluid Dynamic Impacts on Buildings and Infrastructure with Full Similarity Unsteady Flow Tunnel," studies how air moves around large buildings and infrastructure, testing how extreme winds affect the structural stability of skyscrapers, urban heat island effect, and building cooling and heating loads. One of two highly collaborative projects given the award, the project will bring together experts from across Princeton University and other institutions. Funding totaled $600,000 between the two projects.

“These are unique, challenging issues that straddle several arenas and therefore require multi-disciplinary research,” said Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo, director of the Andlinger Center and the Theodora D. ’78 and William H. Walton III ’74 Professor in Engineering. “Ambitious projects like these need a place where a diversity of experts can come together and receive support on a holistic level. That’s where the Andlinger Center and our Innovation Award comes in- to provide financial and administrative backing for projects with big implications for society that could ultimately yield solutions in service of humanity.”

Using a new, one-of-a kind high-pressure wind tunnel, the researchers are exploring how extreme wind moves around large buildings and infrastructure, with the aim of improving buildings as well as wind farm design for electricity production.  The pressurized wind tunnel is used to reproduce extreme wind conditions and model how they interact with building materials and large infrastructure up to 100 times the size of the model. The team studies how the air moves around a building’s edges to understand the risk of fracture, how buildings lose heat due to wind, and how the wind may mitigate or perpetuate urban heat island effect. One way that Marcus Hultmark, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will use the tunnel is to study how wind flows around utility scale wind turbines, which may have implications for optimizing wind farm design. The tunnel is currently under construction on Princeton’s Forrestal Campus. The project team hopes to use experiments in the tunnel to both verify data from computer models and to use alongside climate and weather models to predict which buildings and parts of a city are most vulnerable in times of extreme wind.  The project spans the realms of architecture, civil and environmental engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering, and climate science. The team hopes to make buildings, infrastructure, and cities more resilient to the effects of climate change, and better able to manage extreme weather and intense resource demand. The award supports the project for 18 months.

The full project team includes:

  • Forrest Meggers Assistant Professor of Architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment; Co-Director, Program in Architecture and Engineering; Robert K. Root University Preceptor
  • Marcus Hultmark Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Elie Bou-Zeid Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director, Program in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources
  • Sigrid Adriaenssens Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Luc Deike Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Princeton Environmental Institute
  • Guy Nordenson Professor of Architecture
  • Ning Lin Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Gabriel Vecchi Professor of Geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute
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