Large-eddy simulation of pollutant dispersion in generic urban street canyons: Guidelines for domain size

Xing Zheng (Corresponding author), Hamid Montazeri, Bert Blocken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Pollutant dispersion in urban street canyons has been widely investigated by large-eddy simulation (LES). Many LES studies focused on generic street canyons under a wind direction perpendicular to the street axis. Accurate LES simulations require a sufficiently large domain size to minimize the effects of the artificial boundary conditions at the domain faces on the results. As opposed to RANS simulations, there is a lack of guidelines for an appropriate domain size for LES simulations of wind flow and pollutant dispersion in street canyons. The present study systematically investigates the effect of the domain width, domain height and upstream and downstream domain lengths on the wind flow and pollutant dispersion within a generic 2.5D street canyon with spanwise periodic boundary conditions. Following a validation study, 16 LES simulations are performed for different domain sizes. The results show that the minimum requirement for the domain width is 2.5H, where H is the roof height of the street canyon. For the domain height, upstream domain length and downstream domain length, 7.5H, 5H and 10H are recommended, respectively. These guidelines should help to reduce the computational costs of this type of simulation without significantly compromising the accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104527
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Air pollution
  • Air quality
  • Best practice guidelines
  • Built environment
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Contaminant dispersion
  • LES simulation
  • Pollutant removal
  • Urban ventilation
  • Urban wind flow


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