Thin-film Photovoltaics Under Extreme Wind Loading Due to Downbursts in the Washington D.C. Area
Markham, Kristen S.
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Extreme wind loading on buildings can be caused by a variety of different weather phenomenon, including straight-line wind-inducing events known as downbursts. With maximum wind gusts up to 168 mph, downbursts have the potential to cause significant damage to modern infrastructure, comparable to that of the more commonly-known tornado or hurricane. Among the many variables that affect the extent of damage to infrastructure from such events, the performance of a building is largely dependent on two factors - (a) the magnitude of the loads induced on a building, and (b) the strength of the building components resisting these loads. The goal of this research is to characterize the downburst-induced horizontal wind loads on a building façade of a given region, as well as the strength and behavior of a green building material used in the façade of buildings - known as thin-film building integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs). With downburst data collected from the Washington D.C.-Baltimore metropolitan area (WBMA), a failure probability model is derived for BIPVs specific to this region.