CFD simulation of wind-induced pressure coefficients on buildings with and without balconies: validation and sensitivity analysis

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Abstract

Knowledge of the pressure distribution on building walls is important for the evaluation of wind loads and natural ventilation. Wind-induced pressure distributions are influenced by a wide range of factors including approach-flow conditions, urban surroundings and building geometry. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can be a valuable tool for determining mean wind pressure coefficients on building facades. However, while many CFD studies of mean wind pressure on buildings have been performed in the past, the vast majority of these studies focused on simple building geometries without facade details such as balconies. These details however can drastically influence the flow pattern and the overall pressure distribution on the facade. This paper presents a systematic evaluation of 3D steady Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) CFD for predicting mean wind pressure distributions on windward and leeward surfaces of a medium-rise building with and without balconies. The evaluation is based on a grid-sensitivity analysis and on validation with wind-tunnel measurements. It is shown that building balconies can lead to very strong changes in wind pressure distribution, because they introduce multiple areas of flow separation and recirculation across the facade. The results show that steady RANS, in spite of its limitations, can accurately reproduce the mean wind pressure distribution across the windward facade of the building. The average deviations from the wind-tunnel measurements are 12% and 10% for the building with and without balconies, respectively. In addition, also the important impact of the reference static pressure and the turbulence model are demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-149
Number of pages13
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume60
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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