It’s basically a “hurricane in a box.”
It’s official name is the “Transportable (if you have a Mack Truck and 100-foot-long trailer) Design Verification Test Chamber. It weighs 12,000 – 13,000 pounds. It’s 10 feet high, and about 30 feet around. Just shipped in from Florida.
We’re putting it together today. Its “papa,” Ron Tatley, is here to supervise. It’ll probably get its first firing-up at PROSOCO tomorrow.
On one side of the box, you install a wall assembly, such as you might find on a hotel at the beach. The wall has a window, sliding glass door, air conditioner, possibly – everything you might find on such a hotel or beachfront condo.
The outside of that wall faces inside the test chamber.
Inside the box, one side of which is the wall being tested, pressure and water get cranked up to simulate wind-driven rain up to and in excess of a Category 5 hurricane.
The idea is to test how well a typical wall assembly, windows, doors and all, can resist water penetration under such circumstances. The chamber also tests air leakage through the wall and around the window and door — air leakage which wastes valuable energy.
Its inventors, and our partners in the air barrier biz, Building Envelope Innovations (BEI) of Clackamas, Ore., created the chamber so they could help builders create walls that wouldn’t wet-out in extreme, or even ordinary weather conditions.
BEI and an associated construction repair company, Tatley-Grund, Seattle, found they were doing a lot of work to repair this kind of damage. They figured — why repair with the same kind of products and procedures that let the damage happen to begin with?
Why not build new wall assemblies that are tested to withstand weather? Even vicious uber-storm coastal weather. Or, for that matter the often devastating thunderstorms we get here in Mid-Continental America.
So BEI developed products and procedures to do just that — and the means to test them with the Transportable Design Verification Test Chamber.
There’s more to the story, of course, involving saving money, avoiding lawsuits, construction and of course, extreme weather. But the fun part is the gear itself. We’ll be whipping up a Category 5 hurricane tomorrow once the test chamber is assembled and deemed operational.
Don’t worry — I’m confident the Category 5 hurricane won’t get out!
# # #