Ridge and field tile aerodynamics for a low-rise building: a full-scale study

  • Tecle, Amanuel (Laboratory for Wind Engineering Research (LWER), International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC)/Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Florida International University (FIU)) ;
  • Bitsuamlak, Girma T. (WindEEE Research Institute, Western University) ;
  • Suskawang, Nakin (LWER, IHRC/CEE) ;
  • Chowdury, Arindam Gan (LWER, IHRC/CEE) ;
  • Fuez, Serge (Laboratory for Wind Engineering Research (LWER), International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC)/Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Florida International University (FIU))
  • Received : 2011.06.27
  • Accepted : 2012.04.24
  • Published : 2013.04.25


Recent major post-hurricane damage assessments in the United States have reported that the most common damages result from the loss of building roof coverings and subsequent wind driven rain intrusion. In an effort to look further into this problem, this paper presents a full-scale (Wall of Wind --WoW--) investigation of external and underneath wind pressures on roof tiles installed on a low-rise building model with various gable roofs. The optimal dimensions for the low-rise building that was tested with the WOW are 2.74 m (9 ft) long, 2.13 m (7 ft) wide, and 2.13 m (7 ft) high. The building is tested with interchangeable gable roofs at three different slopes (2:12; 5:12 and 7:12). The field tiles of these gable roofs are considered with three different tile profiles namely high (HP), medium (MP), and low profiles (LP) in accordance with Florida practice. For the ridge, two different types namely rounded and three-sided tiles were considered. The effect of weather block on the "underneath" pressure that develops between the tiles and the roof deck was also examined. These tests revealed the following: high pressure coefficients for the ridge tile compared to the field tiles, including those located at the corners; considerably higher pressure on the gable end ridge tiles compared to ridge tiles at the middle of the ridge line; and marginally higher pressure on barrel type tiles compared to the three-sided ridge tiles. The weather blocking of clay tiles, while useful in preventing water intrusion, it doesn't have significant effect on the wind loads of the field tiles. The case with weather blocking produces positive mean underneath pressure on the field tiles on the windward side thus reducing the net pressures on the windward surface of the roof. On the leeward side, reductions in net pressure to a non-significant level were observed due to the opposite direction of the internal and external pressures. The effect of the weather blocking on the external pressure on the ridge tile was negligible.


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