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Three-Dimensional (3-D) Immersed-Boundary (IB) Based Tornado Model for Computational Analysis of Disastrous Wind Load on Buildings

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posted on 23.05.2021, 12:56 by Xixiong Guo, Jun Cao
This study is aimed at developing a novel computational framework that can essentially simulate a tornadic wind field and investigate the wind loadings on ground constructions. It is well known that tornado is a highly turbulent airflow that simultaneously translates, rotates and updrafts with a high speed. Tornadoes induce a significantly elevated level of wind forces if compared to a straight-line wind. A suitably designed building for a straight-line wind would fail to survive when exposed to a tornadic-like wind of the same wind speed. It is necessary to design buildings that are more resistant to tornadoes. Since the study of tornado dynamics relying on field observations and laboratory experiments is usually expensive, restrictive, and time-consuming, computer simulation mainly via the large eddy simulation (LES) method has become a more attractive research direction in shedding light on the intricate characteristics of a tornadic wind field. For numerical simulation of a tornado-building interaction scenario, it looks quite challenging to seek a set of physically-rational and meanwhile computationally-practical boundary conditions to accompany traditional CFD approaches; however, little literature can be found, as of today, in three-dimensional (3D) computational tornado dynamics study. Inspired by the development of the immersed boundary (IB) method, this study employed a re-tailored Rankine-combined vortex model (RCVM) that applies the “relative motion” principle to the translational component of tornado, such that the building is viewed as “virtually” translating towards a “pinned” rotational flow that remains time-invariant at the far field region. This revision renders a steady-state kinematic condition applicable to the outer boundary of a large tornado simulation domain, successfully circumventing the boundary condition updating process that the original RCVM would have to suffer, and tremendously accelerating the computation. Wind loading and its influence factors are comprehensively investigated and analyzed both on a single building and on a multiple-building configuration. The relation between the wind loadings and the height and shape of the building is also examined in detail. Knowledge of these loadings may lead to design strategies that can enable ground construction to be more resistant to tornadoes, reducing the losses caused by this type of disastrous weather.





Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type