Shuttering Out the Storm

By Lucie Li
Junior Category (Grades 7-8)
Innovation | Engineering and Computer Science

No matter where a hurricane strikes, it brings chaos and damage with it. With climate change warming the oceans that hurricanes form over, hurricanes are becoming stronger. While there are forms of hurricane protection, they may not be enough for the strong winds that approach in the future. This project focuses on finding which hurricane shutter design will be the best at protecting windows from wind and debris, and adding further improvements to it.

In order to test the strength of hurricane shutter structures, smaller models of cardboard were created. A chip, used to represent a window, was placed beneath the shutter in a frame. A 50-gram weight was dropped at a distance of 20.2 cm onto the shutter. The number of broken pieces of chip were recorded for each of the shutters for five trials. The most popular shutter designs were tested: The Roll Down shutter, the Accordion shutter, the Storm Panel shutter, and the Bahama shutter. The Accordion shutter came in first, with 0.0 broken chip pieces, followed by the Roll Down shutter, with an average of 1.8 broken chip pieces, the Storm Panel with 2.6 broken chip pieces, the Bahama shutter at 6.0 broken chip pieces, and the control of no shutter over the chip with the average of 7.6 broken chip pieces.

After determining that the Accordion shutter had the best structure, more improvements were researched in order to make the Accordion shutter even better. Locking rods, a reinforced lock and lock positioning, protected edges, and a 60-degree angle for each fold in the shutter are all parts that make the shutter even more reliable. With these new adjustments, protection from hurricane damage moves forward once again.

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