Debris Impact Facility


Texas Tech's Debris Impact Facility Gains Internationally Recognized Accreditation

The Debris Impact Facility (DIF) at Texas Tech University has received its ISO/IEC 17025 internationally recognized accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA).  


The accreditation comes after a thorough assessment of the quality management system, traceability of measurements and calibrations to national standards, and competence of the National Wind Institute's Debris Impact Facility.

Debris impact Testing canon

About the Debris Impact Facility

The Debris Impact Facility is intended to promote public safety and welfare and helps prevent deaths and lower property losses incurred due to extreme weather events and their effects. DIF performs debris impact tests on storm shelters, shelter components and building materials in order to develop the safest, most impact-resistant materials to better protect individuals.

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 real life impact of a sample debris cannon missile.

For Information on Debris Impact Testing:
For information on testing and the testing schedule, please contact:
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 P-320 - Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business
FEMA P-361 - Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms, Third Edition (2015)
ICC 500-2014: ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters