School of Civil Engineering

Mentor: Matthew Mason & Joe Gattas

Project Brief

Hail is a vicious natural phenomenon that causes extensive damage to property and infrastructure. The cost of damage caused by hail can be estimated with probabilistic risk models, however such models require an understanding of how hail stones of different sizes and speeds damage building materials. Specialist testing facilities exist internationally (see video below), however an understanding of hail damage in the Australian context is relatively underdeveloped. Students in this project will be able to help develop hail research in two ways:

  • Develop a method for making 'fake' hail with properties similar to real hail
  • Develop a gun or device capable of lauching hail stones at an appropriate speed.

​Students will be briefed on wind engineering, structural testing, and safe experimental design procedures to assist them in acheiving these aims.



Project Report

The initial brief for the project was to investigate the feasibility of constructing a hail testing device for testing structural and cladding elements against hail. Through a term literature research, and investigation of previous attempts at similar devices by other teams throughout the world, a rough design for an air-powered cannon was settled upon. This cannon would differ from previous models in that it would fire ice projectiles as close in structure and strength to real hail as possible. Due to health and safety concerns, a working model could not be built, however the groundwork for future projects was laid.