Debris Impact Testing

Debris impact Testing canon

Debris Impact Testing Lab

The Debris Impact Facility is intended to promote safety and the welfare of the public and to minimize public and private losses due to weather hazards and the effects thereof. The Debris Impact Facility performs debris impact test on storm shelters, shelter components, and building materials to evaluate their ability to resist various types of projectiles propelled at different speeds

The heart of the Debris Impact Facility is a pneumatic cannon capable of producing simulated wind speeds over 250 mph. The cannon can launch different types of simulated wind-born debris in a controlled environment to provide valuable impact resistance data.

The cannon plays an important role in researching effective tornado shelters for use in homes and other structures. The cannon is used to develop standards for safe above ground shelters, and continues to be in demand for testing new shelter materials and constructions.

The NWI has also been selected for Popular Science’s “Most Awesome College Labs 2013" and as one of "PopSci's Most Awesome College Labs 2011".

Watch a video demonstrating the debris impact cannon in action.This video is an impressive, slow-motion,actual impact of a sample debris cannon missile.

For Information on Debris Impact Testing:

For information on testing and the testing schedule, please contact:
  • Tammy Pitzer, DIF Office Manager at (806) 834-8604 or email:
  • Larry Tanner, DIF Manager at (806) 834-2320 or email:

General Shelter Information

In-Residence Shelters
Annual Disaster/Death Statistics for US Storms
National Storm Shelter Association
Learn how to be Storm Safe (free on-line course from the International Code Council)

Reports: Tested Shelters, Shelter Doors & Components


Above Ground Tested Shelters
Below Ground Tested Shelters


Commercial FEMA Tested Doors
Residential Shelter Doors




Protocol 5 DOE

Other Reports (Misc.)

Debris Impact Testing Report
Construction Materials Threshold Testing Report
Final NIST Report
Mayflower Door Research Report
CMU Brick Veneer Walls
FEMA 320
FEMA 361
ICC 500-2014