COLLEGE STATION – Storm Resistant Systems (SR Systems, LLC) of Linden, AL, headed by CEO Scott Drummond and General Manager Steve Zimmerman, blew into town last week. But the company, which manufactures components designed to help structures withstand hurricanes and tornadoes, was on a serious mission. SR Systems wanted to test its products in an F5 tornado. But who could create a tornado on demand?
Enter the TEEX Product Development Center (PDC) and its collaborators across The Texas A&M University System. After an initial meeting following the PDC Luncheon Series in January, SR Systems GM Zimmerman explained to PDC Coordinator Caleb Holt that the company needed empirical, unbiased testing to validate its product — in other words, it needed a tornado.
As part of an agency known for simulating huge fires, explosions and destroyed cities for training purposes, the request did not seem unusual. Before long, through connections with Dr. Dean Schneider at the Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT) and Dr. Peter Keating in the Texas A&M University Department of Civil Engineering, plans for a man-made tornado were in the works.
The site was the High Bay Structural and Materials Testing Laboratory on the Texas A&M campus, where a tri-directional pressure test was generated that was the equivalent of an F5 tornado.
It’s true, Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore, you’re in College Station.
When the report of test results is completed, SR Systems will be eligible to use the TEEX TESTED mark.