Wind flow simulations in idealized and real built environments with models of various level of complexity

  • Abdi, Daniel S. ;
  • Bitsuamlak, Girma T.
  • Received : 2015.06.10
  • Accepted : 2016.02.13
  • Published : 2016.04.25


The suitability of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations on the built environment for the purpose of estimating average roughness characteristics and for studying wind flow patterns within the environment is assessed. Urban models of various levels of complexity are considered including an empty domain, array of obstacles arranged in regular and staggered manners, in-homogeneous roughness with multiple patches, a semi-idealized built environment, and finally a real built environment. For each of the test cases, we conducted CFD simulations using RANS turbulence closure and validated the results against appropriate methods: existing empirical formulas for the homogeneous roughness case, empirical wind speed models for the in-homogeneous roughness case, and wind tunnel tests for the semi-idealized built environment case. In general, results obtained from the CFD simulations show good agreement with the corresponding validation methods, thereby, giving further evidence to the suitability of CFD simulations for built environment studies consisting of wide-ranging roughness. This work also provides a comprehensive overview of roughness modeling in CFD-from the simplest approach of modeling roughness implicitly through wall functions to the most elaborate approach of modeling roughness explicitly for the sake of accurate wind flow simulations within the built environment.


CFD;built environment;wind flow;roughness;urban models


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