Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Arindam Gan Chowdhury

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Peter Irwin

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Maryam Asghari Mooneghi

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Atorod Azizinamini

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Ioannis Zisis

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Sixth Advisor's Name

Arif Mohaimin Sadri

Sixth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Wind Loading, Pressure Coefficient, Net Pressure Coefficient, Component and Cladding, Balcony Handrail Systems, Wind Tunnel Testing, High-rise Building, Wall of Wind, Mid-rise Building, Wind Engineering

Date of Defense



Balconies constitute an important element of the building design, especially in areas with a mild climate where they represent a characteristic component of the local architecture and provide the occupants an easy access to the environment. Nevertheless, in parallel with the aesthetics and functionality, balconies have an effect on the wind loading of buildings and if poorly designed it could bring catastrophic accidents. Failure of balcony glass handrail panels has been a frequent occurrence during past windstorms. Such failure poses safety concerns for the building residents and generates wind-borne debris affecting other structures downwind. The current methodology for establishing the wind effects on building facades involves determining the design load using the wind provisions of codes and standards (e.g., ASCE 7-16). However, the current methodology does not provide adequate guidance on the wind loading affecting the balcony glass hand railings in residential mid- and high-rise buildings.

Large-scale testing of balcony handrail panels is essential as it provides more representative information about the realistic wind effects than the typical small-scale studies. However, as the model increases, the limited dimensions of wind tunnels does not allow simulating the low frequency end of the turbulence spectrum.

To address these limitations, the Partial Turbulence Simulation (PTS) method compensate analytically for the effects of the missing low-frequency content of the spectrum. In this method, the turbulence spectrum is divided into two processes, where the high frequencies are simulated in the wind tunnel, and the low frequencies are treated in a quasi-steady manner.

This PTS methodology is based on the assumption of Equilibrium of Small-scale Turbulence; however, this assumption is not applicable for tall buildings. The current study is an extension of the PTS to include balcony handrail panels in Tall buildings. Three scale experiments at 1:180, 1:67, and 1:25 were carried out to investigate the wind loading on balconies and the effect of balconies on wind loads of tall buildings. Analysis was compared among model scales and existing codes and standards on pressure coefficients on components and cladding.



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