Texas Tech University

Debris Impact Facility

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.





General Shelter Information






NWI'S Debris Impact Facility Gains International Accreditation From the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation
Read More at: Texas Tech Today  

Tested Shelters, Shelter Doors & Components

 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: tammy.pitzer@ttu.edu
Larry Tanner, DIF Manager at (806) 834-2320 or email: larry.tanner@ttu.edu


National Wind Institute