Computational evaluation of wind loads on low- and highrise buildings

Agerneh Kenubih Dagnew, Florida International University


Buildings and other infrastructures located in the coastal regions of the US have a higher level of wind vulnerability. Reducing the increasing property losses and causalities associated with severe windstorms has been the central research focus of the wind engineering community. The present wind engineering toolbox consists of building codes and standards, laboratory experiments, and field measurements. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 7 standard provides wind loads only for buildings with common shapes. For complex cases it refers to physical modeling. Although this option can be economically viable for large projects, it is not cost-effective for low-rise residential houses. To circumvent these limitations, a numerical approach based on the techniques of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has been developed. The recent advance in computing technology and significant developments in turbulence modeling is making numerical evaluation of wind effects a more affordable approach. The present study targeted those cases that are not addressed by the standards. These include wind loads on complex roofs for low-rise buildings, aerodynamics of tall buildings, and effects of complex surrounding buildings. Among all the turbulence models investigated, the large eddy simulation (LES) model performed the best in predicting wind loads. The application of a spatially evolving time-dependent wind velocity field with the relevant turbulence structures at the inlet boundaries was found to be essential. All the results were compared and validated with experimental data. The study also revealed CFD's unique flow visualization and aerodynamic data generation capabilities along with a better understanding of the complex three-dimensional aerodynamics of wind-structure interactions. With the proper modeling that realistically represents the actual turbulent atmospheric boundary layer flow, CFD can offer an economical alternative to the existing wind engineering tools. CFD's easy accessibility is expected to transform the practice of structural design for wind, resulting in more wind-resilient and sustainable systems by encouraging optimal aerodynamic and sustainable structural/building design. Thus, this method will help ensure public safety and reduce economic losses due to wind perils.

Subject Area

Civil engineering

Recommended Citation

Dagnew, Agerneh Kenubih, "Computational evaluation of wind loads on low- and highrise buildings" (2012). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3554149.