Windborne Debris Testing

Facilities to test the impact resistance of building envelope components

The Cyclone Testing Station has facilities to test the impact resistance of building envelope components. Typical components to be tested include wall panel or cladding systems, windows, personnel and roller doors, screens and shutters.

The impact resistance test is NATA accredited. Impact velocities of up to 45 m/s (~160 km/h) can be achieved with our wind driven debris simulators. The maximum sample size is limited to about 2 m x 5 m, due to physical restrictions at the test facility.

Airbox Testing

Simulating wind pressure on structural elements

The airbox is an open topped pressure chamber. It is 11 m long, 2 m wide and 0.5 m high. It is used to simulate wind pressure on structural elements such as roof sheeting, wall cladding, structural panels, roof vents, skylights, windows, doors and other building elements. For testing cladding, a specimen consisting of a section of roof or wall is fabricated in the normal manner and installed to become the top surface of the chamber. The cladding can be extended over a number of spans to form the test specimen. The airbox is available as a tool for industry to predict the likely response of products when subject to high wind pressures. In addition, it is used for research into the performance of cladding and other structural elements.

The facility is used by manufacturers to verify the performance of their material in a particular situation, or to develop sets of pressure/span tables showing the recommended use of their product. This is the only such facility in Australia that has been built and is operated by an establishment independent of the roofing and cladding industry. As such it can provide a completely independent and confidential service for all manufacturers and is available for commercial testing.

Structural Testing Laboratory

A variety of tests can be conducted in the Structural and Materials Testing Laboratories, ranging from small scale tests of single connections (eg screw pull-out) to the evaluation of wall panel systems. Out testing equipment includes:

  • Universal Testing Machines
  • Structures Floors Loading Frames
  • An Airbag Test Rig

The main feature of the structures laboratory is a reaction floor consisting of a 1.2 m thick pre-stressed concrete slab to which the testing rigs can be attached.

Full Scale House Testing

Testing houses to measure their response to simulated wind forces

One of the Station's major research projects is the house testing programme. There have been many full scale structures tested ranging from a 1940's timber house to a split level brick house and to a prefabricated kit home.

This research involves the construction of full size houses and then testing them to measure their response to simulated wind forces. Depending on the design of the building these forces are applied to simulate the passage of a four hour tropical cyclone or the effect of peak gusts associated with a thunder storm. From the results of testing full size houses rather than components we can determine not only the overall strength, stiffness and resilience of the structure, but discover the weak links of the load paths, that is the path the applied loads take through the structure to get to the foundations.

Wind Tunnel Testing

Carrying out contract tests and research projects

The 2 x 2.5 x 22 m Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel is used for carrying out contract tests and research projects. Results from studies have been used in the development of the wind loading standards in Australia and overseas. Commercial wind tunnel model testing services are offered by the CTS in the areas of:

  • Cladding Pressure and Structural Loads
  • Ground Level Wind Climate
  • Structural Dynamics
  • Building Ventilation
  • Atmospheric Dispersion