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Predicting Wind Loading Interference Effects

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Themistoklis Vargiemezis

 Motivation and Objective

Interference effects due to surrounding building geometries can alter the wind loads on a building. Overall, interference effects are generally assumed to have a sheltering effect, reducing the overall base wind load; however, locally, increased loads on roof or facade cladding components can occur. Calculations of design wind loads do not routinely account for these interference effects, which could explain failure of low-rise building components even if the design speed is not exceeded during a storm. Our objective is to establish a validated CFD-based method to quantify the influence of the surrounding built environment on the local wind speed and the resulting interference effects on the wind loads on buildings in a real urban environment. 

Methods & Results

To achieve our objective, we are using a combination of wind tunnel measurements and high- and low-fidelity CFD simulations integrated using multi-fidelity algorithms. The wind tunnel measurements support validating the models under controlled conditions, and the CFD-based multi-fidelity algorithms will reduce computational cost while reducing uncertainties related to turbulence modeling or geometrical simplifications. 

Wind tunnel measurements have been performed for both an isolated building, and the building in its urban environment. Corresponding Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes simulation (RANS) and large-eddy simulation (LES) predictions are currently being compared to the experiments for validation. Simultaneously, we are exploring a variety of multi-fidelity simulation strategies to support wind load predictions with the accuracy of a high-fidelity LES, but at a reduced computational cost.


Acknowledgements & Resources

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation CAREER award number 1749610 and used the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by National Science Foundation grant number CI-1548562.

Conference presentations

  • T. Vargiemezis and C. Gorlé, “Comparison of RANS, LES and wind tunnel experiments for quantifying interference effects on a low-rise buildijng” 14th Americas Conference on Wind Engineering, Lubbock, TX, May 17-19, 2022.
  • T. Vargiemezis and C. Gorlé, “Comparison of RANS, LES and wind tunnel experiments for the calculation of wind loads on low-rise buildings,” 74th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, Phoenix, AZ, November 21–23, 2021.
  • T. Vargiemezis and C. Gorlé, “CFD-based design of experiments for quantifying interference effects in the prediction of wind loads on a low-rise building,” Engineering Mechanics Institute Conference, online, May 25-28, 2021.