Reducing uncertainties in estimation of wind effects on tall buildings using aerodynamic wind tunnel tests

Workamaw Paulos Warsido, Florida International University


Tall buildings are wind-sensitive structures and could experience high wind-induced effects. Aerodynamic boundary layer wind tunnel testing has been the most commonly used method for estimating wind effects on tall buildings. Design wind effects on tall buildings are estimated through analytical processing of the data obtained from aerodynamic wind tunnel tests. Even though it is widely agreed that the data obtained from wind tunnel testing is fairly reliable the post-test analytical procedures are still argued to have remarkable uncertainties. This research work attempted to assess the uncertainties occurring at different stages of the post-test analytical procedures in detail and suggest improved techniques for reducing the uncertainties. Results of the study showed that traditionally used simplifying approximations, particularly in the frequency domain approach, could cause significant uncertainties in estimating aerodynamic wind-induced responses. Based on identified shortcomings, a more accurate dual aerodynamic data analysis framework which works in the frequency and time domains was developed. The comprehensive analysis framework allows estimating modal, resultant and peak values of various wind-induced responses of a tall building more accurately. Estimating design wind effects on tall buildings also requires synthesizing the wind tunnel data with local climatological data of the study site. A novel copula based approach was developed for accurately synthesizing aerodynamic and climatological data up on investigating the causes of significant uncertainties in currently used synthesizing techniques. Improvement of the new approach over the existing techniques was also illustrated with a case study on a 50 story building. At last, a practical dynamic optimization approach was suggested for tuning structural properties of tall buildings towards attaining optimum performance against wind loads with less number of design iterations.

Subject Area

Civil engineering

Recommended Citation

Warsido, Workamaw Paulos, "Reducing uncertainties in estimation of wind effects on tall buildings using aerodynamic wind tunnel tests" (2013). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3598137.