Why research hailstones? Well for one, hail damage causes well over $1 billion dollars in insured loses every year. Second, in my opinion, hail is pretty incredible.
Handheld 3D scanners were used in field settings in 2015 and 2016, capturing scans of more than 40 hailstones. According to Ian M. Giammanco of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, this is the first time hail research of this kind has been conducted.
While this may represent a fairly small dataset, the study proves that this research method is viable. The idea I find most interesting is creating 3D models from the scans that can be tested for aerodynamics, strength, impact testing etc. We’re likely to see much more of this kind of research down the line.
You can check out the abstract here for more details on this study.