Wind loads are a complex matter and is one of the main aspects when designing a tall building, in order to create a design and a structure that can withstand the powerful loads. Wind loads have been studied carefully during the last centuries to understand its behavior and to optimize the loads. The first wind tunnel was built in the late 19th century and up until now, the method has been enhanced and embedded as the method of determine wind loads on structures.
The first numerical methods were created in the 1930’s. Together with the computers prevalence in the 1980’s research within Computational Fluid Dynamics CFD has accelerated, and the determination of wind loads by applying a Digital Wind Tunnel is now a prospective opponent to the conventional wind tunnel.
Today structural engineers are seeking the use of CFD to determine the wind loads on high-rise buildings, particularly for the rapid design evaluation in modern architectural- and engineering projects. The challenges of today’s Digital Wind Tunnel are to build up a proper turbulent wind flow, that reflects the atmospheric boundary layer, and to capture the fluctuations around the high-rise building, without creating a CFD model that takes weeks before a result is returned. In 50 years, these challenges will be different, as access to large computational power will not be problem. Therefore, it’s just a matter of when Digital Wind Tunnels will be as accurate as conventional wind tunnels, and likewise be an embedded method for wind load determination.
In this presentation, different approaches for setting up a Digital Wind Tunnel is presented, together with benchmark results of the current accuracy of CFD methods.