Practical application of CFD for wind loading on tall buildings

G.H. Clannachan, J.B.P. Lim, N. Bicanic, I.J. Taylor, T.J. Scanlon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


This paper is concerned with assessing the scope of appicabiity for computational fluid dynamics(CFD) in the field of structural engineering, with a particular reference to tall buildings. Modern design trends and advances in engineering materials have encouraged the demand for taller and more slender structures. This pattern induces inherent structural flexibility; these cases exceed the limitations of the quasi-static method offered by current codes of practice. Wind tunnel testing is the traditional solution for such dynamically sensitive structures. However, even this scaled modelling approach is clouded by some uncertainties, including scaling the Reynolds number and assuming damping values for the aeroelastic model. While CFD cannot be used as a replacement for wind tunnel testing, there are results within the literature to suggest it has the potential to act as a complimentary tool - provided it is used within its capabilities. The paper outlines the various turbulence models that are available and summarises the extent of their application in a practical structural engineering sense. It also details the user-defined criteria that must be satisfied and discusses the potential for simplified models in tall building CFD analyses, with a view to promoting more efficient and practical solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th international conference on tall buildings
EditorsF.T.K. Au
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2009
Event7th International Conference on Tall Buildings - Hong Kong, China
Duration: 29 Oct 200930 Oct 2009


Conference7th International Conference on Tall Buildings
CityHong Kong, China


  • wind loading
  • cfd
  • turbulence modelling
  • surface pressure
  • tall buildings
  • practical application


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