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Dr. Tathagata Ray receives NSF grant for wind energy research

news-thumbnail-tathagata-ray-wow.webpMorehead State University Assistant Professor of Construction and Civil Engineering Technology, Dr. Tathagata Ray, was recently awarded a grant from the Kentucky National Science Foundation's (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to support his research project exploring ways to mitigate roof damage caused by high winds.

High winds flowing over roofs of low-rise buildings can cause damage in two ways:

  • Uplifting and removal of the roof causing the total collapse of the building.
  • Localized damage that causes water leaks that result in more significant structural and functional loss.

One of the reasons behind both damage mechanisms is the suction (upward pressure) created on the roof by the wind. Ray developed a control system that will be activated by suction and later reduce suction.

Ray visited Florida International University (FIU) in October 2023 and conducted a set of experiments utilizing the NSF Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Wall of Wind (WoW) Experimental Facility. The controller was fabricated for Ray by The Honey and Bee Connection, a local wood workshop in Morehead. Ray worked with Undergraduate Research Fellows Ryan Justice from Pikeville, a senior construction and civil engineering management major, and Hunter Cook from Bidwell, Ohio, a sophomore majoring in space systems engineering.

"I applaud the work of Dr. Ray. His work in studying the effects of wind on structures is of great value to the construction industry from the local to national level and beyond," said Dr. Eric Jerde, associate dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

In addition to these two students involved, James Bradley, lab and facilities manager for the School of Engineering and Technology Management, was also involved in the initial small-scale testing at MSU. The trials entailed testing those specimens on the MSU campus using a wind tunnel purchased with NSF KY EPSCoR grant funds.

"I completed the tests at FIU ahead of schedule. This happened because of camaraderie and the congenial atmosphere that the Wall of Wind team provided me, together with the hard work they did with me," Ray said. "I also thank you for the support from the MSU management, including the Office of Research [and Sponsored Programs]."

Dr. Shannon Harr, director of research and sponsored programs, said support from EPSCoR has been vital to research across campus.

"This research was made possible by funding received through the NSF KY EPSCoR program. Faculty at MSU have been generously supported by KY EPSCoR, receiving millions of dollars to support research and teaching," he said.

For more information about MSU's School of Engineering and Computer Science, email or call 606-783-2090.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement No. 1849213. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Photo Caption: Dr, Tathagata Ray, Assistant Professor of Construction and Civil Engineering Technology, at the Wall of Wind experiment facility at Florida International University. 

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