1. What is wind engineering?
Wind engineering is a science that primarily studies the impact of wind on people, buildings, and other man-made structures. It comprises a mixture of knowledge from meteorology, fluid mechanics and structural engineering.
2. Why is wind engineering important?
Wind Engineering is a vital component of construction projects. Depending on the location, height and form of a development, consideration must be given to pedestrian wind comfort, wind-induced façade pressures and/or wind-induced structural loads and building motion. Architects and structural engineers use the results from wind engineering studies to refine the shape and design of buildings to make them more aerodynamically efficient and reduce the impact they have on their surroundings.
3. What benefits can wind engineering lead to?
Project teams that use wind engineering wisely can significantly reduce construction costs leading to reductions in embedded carbon.
Architects incorporating wind engineering can design spaces that are shielded from the prevailing winds, creating a more comfortable outdoor environment throughout the seasons.
4. What structures can benefit from wind engineering?
Wind engineering can be applied to any man-made structures including bridges, buildings, towers, and even sculptures. It can also be used to assess how wind affects the diffusion of pollutants or odor, as well as reducing impacts from re-entrainment.
5. Is a wind tunnel testing the only way to study wind effects?
Wind engineers use two major tools for modelling the effects of wind around natural and manmade structures:
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
Computational fluid dynamics is a good tool for modelling flow behaviour. It can be used to model some of the physics which cannot be achieved using a wind tunnel. However, CFD is not used to predict wind patterns for designs on buildings that are mostly safety-based such as wind gusts in an urban environment.
Wind tunnel testing (WTT)
WTT is the leading tool used in the analysis of aerodynamic performance. A wind tunnel simulates an object being subjected to a given wind speed (or moving through the air) using a full-size model or a scale model of the object within the testing chamber. Fans suck or blow air through a duct, and the effects of the flow on the object can be studied and analysed. It is effectively used in modelling wind flows around tall structures and buildings to develop crucial design data.
6. What is a wind tunnel?
A wind tunnel is a long and large tube or duct setup with powerful fans, which generate airflow, and a test section where scaled models are positioned. A range of sensors are used to make measurements of air velocity or pressure.
7. What type of testing does Windtech do?
Windtech carries out low and medium-speed wind tunnel testing, primarily in the field of wind tunnel testing for buildings and man-made structures.
Windtech also specialises in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) testing. As wind tunnels enable real-world simulations of how air moves around an object, Windtech uses test models to provide information to verify/validate computer-aided simulations.
8. Why do we use wind tunnels?
Wind tunnels are very useful tools for research designed to study the effects of air on solid or moving objects. Within the tunnel, the airflow and its speed can be measured in many ways.
Wind tunnel testing can be used to determine wind loading on tall buildings, bridges, stadiums, special structures, and transmission towers. Wind tunnels are used for all of the above structures to determine dynamic wind loads, wind-induced cladding pressures and pedestrian wind comfort. Windtech performs all of these studies including many others such as air quality, ventilation, dispersion modelling and wind-driven rain. Windtech also undertakes full scale testing for wind noise and performance of louvres and other facade elements.
9. When do we use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)?
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is effective for a wide range of environmental studies including pedestrian wind comfort studies, thermal comfort studies and air quality studies.
For a fuller list of environmental studies that can benefit from CFD analysis please refer to our Services page.
10. When is the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) not permitted?
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is generally not permitted for determining structural loads or wind-induced façade pressures. For these studies, code-based calculations or wind tunnel testing must be relied upon.
11. What certification or guidance can Windtech adhere to?
Windtech’s techniques comply with the various global wind standards and code of practice documents.
Some of the more well-known standards and code of practice documents are listed below:
For Structural Loads and Façade Pressure
- AS/NZS1170.2:2011 and AS/NZS1170.2.2021 (Australia and New Zealand)
- ASCE 7-5, ASCE-7-10 and ASCE 7-16 (United States)
- BS6399:1997, Part 2 (United Kingdom)
- ISO4354:2009 (International)
- IS875-3:1987 (India)
- EN1991-1-4:2005 (European Union)
- AWES-QAM-01, 2019 (Australasian Wind Engineering Society)
- ASCE/SEI 49-21
- ACSE Manual of Practice No. 67
For Pedestrian Wind Comfort:
- Wind Microclimate Guidelines for Developments in the City of London – https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/assets/Services-Environment/wind-microclimate-guidelines.pdf
- Wind & Micro-climate Toolkit for Leeds – https://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/Draft%20wind%20and%20microclimate%20toolkit.pdf
- AWES-QAM-01, 2019 (Australasian Wind Engineering Society) – https://www.awes.org/product/guidelines-for-pedestrian-wind-effects-criteria
12. What is force balance testing?
Often known as HFB (High-Frequency Balance) or HFFB (High-Frequency Force Balance) testing, force balance testing is used for the determination of wind-induced structural loads and responses for tall buildings. The device itself takes the form of balance at the base of the model, or an internal shaft placed inside of the model, where the interface with the structural mount is located.
13. What is High-Frequency Pressure Integration (HFPI) testing?
Such tests make use of a model with pressure ports distributed over its surface. The data obtained by these ports gives more detailed information regarding the distribution of pressure over the model’s surface in comparison to the HFFB. These pressures, which are measured simultaneously, are integrated to determine overall wind loads on the building.
The HFPI approach is now used for the majority of projects as it allows the same model to be used for both the structural load study and the façade cladding study.