Evaluation of wind-induced internal pressure in low-rise buildings: A multi scale experimental and numerical approach

Amanuel Sebhatu Tecle, Florida International University


Hurricane is one of the most destructive and costly natural hazard to the built environment and its impact on low-rise buildings, particularity, is beyond acceptable. The major objective of this research was to perform a parametric evaluation of internal pressure (IP) for wind-resistant design of low-rise buildings and wind-driven natural ventilation applications. For this purpose, a multi-scale experimental, i.e. full-scale at Wall of Wind (WoW) and small-scale at Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel (BLWT), and a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) approach was adopted. This provided new capability to assess wind pressures realistically on internal volumes ranging from small spaces formed between roof tiles and its deck to attic to room partitions. Effects of sudden breaching, existing dominant openings on building envelopes as well as compartmentalization of building interior on the IP were systematically investigated. Results of this research indicated: (i) for sudden breaching of dominant openings, the transient overshooting response was lower than the subsequent steady state peak IP and internal volume correction for low-wind-speed testing facilities was necessary. For example a building without volume correction experienced a response four times faster and exhibited 30–40% lower mean and peak IP; (ii) for existing openings, vent openings uniformly distributed along the roof alleviated, whereas one sided openings aggravated the IP; (iii) larger dominant openings exhibited a higher IP on the building envelope, and an off-center opening on the wall exhibited (30–40%) higher IP than center located openings; (iv) compartmentalization amplified the intensity of IP and; (v) significant underneath pressure was measured for field tiles, warranting its consideration during net pressure evaluations. The study aimed at wind driven natural ventilation indicated: (i) the IP due to cross ventilation was 1.5 to 2.5 times higher for Ainlet/Aoutlet>1 compared to cases where Ainlet/Aoutlet<1, this in effect reduced the mixing of air inside the building and hence the ventilation effectiveness; (ii) the presence of multi-room partitioning increased the pressure differential and consequently the air exchange rate. Overall good agreement was found between the observed large-scale, small-scale and CFD based IP responses. Comparisons with ASCE 7-10 consistently demonstrated that the code underestimated peak positive and suction IP.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering|Civil engineering|Environmental engineering

Recommended Citation

Tecle, Amanuel Sebhatu, "Evaluation of wind-induced internal pressure in low-rise buildings: A multi scale experimental and numerical approach" (2011). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3502149.