Kyle Butler


PUBLISHED: December 19, 2011

Graduate Student
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

Every year thunderstorms sweeping across the United States account for approximately $6 billion in property damage; they also cause an average of 80 deaths and 1,500 injuries. Graduate student Kyle Butler has been studying thunderstorm winds, which flow around structures in a much different way than other types of winds, creating severe pressures on the walls and roofs of buildings.

Working in laboratory facilities and wind tunnels on campus (and in collaboration with researchers in Japan), Butler and his adviser, Ahsan Kareem, the Robert M. Moran Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, have developed simulation techniques and computational models of thunderstorm and hurricane wind flows around buildings, in particular the impact of winds from Hurricane Ike that hit the downtown Houston area in 2008. These models will help Butler, Kareem, and other researchers better understand the fundamental aerodynamics of thunderstorms and severe frontal weather systems as they work to develop improvements for the structural performance of buildings subject to these types of natural hazards, protecting lives and property.

Butler Research Buildings

Research: Butler