New Wind Engineering Services
Wintech Group’s services now extend to Wind Tunnel Testing, CFD Analysis and Desktop Assessments.
Wind Tunnel Testing is able to accurately predict the effects of wind behaviour on and around buildings to help mitigate risk and facilitate cost effective façade design as well as determining the overall building load.
On many new developments there is a need to create usable and comfortable pedestrian environments and also reduce the cost of materials and structure needed to successfully deliver economic building solutions. Wind Tunnel Testing, CFD simulation and desk-top assessments can therefore be effective value engineering tools for improving conditions and generating cost savings.
In addition to these services Wintech are also able to complete CFD analysis for informing and predicting air flows in closed environments such as twin wall facades and for the effective assessment of ventilation air flows in buildings.
This skill set is also a useful supplement to the Complex Geometry services provided by the Group as amorphous geometry building envelopes cannot currently be modelled in fine detail sufficiently to accurately predict the loading constraints.
The Wintech Group has made a commitment and investment to provide this new service within industry by delivering wind tunnel tests in purpose built environmental wind tunnels, using scale models of buildings fitted with sophisticated analytical sensors that gather data for analysis to demonstrate the effects of high winds on structures, cladding loads and pedestrian comfort.
How it works
A wind tunnel is a tool used in aerodynamic research to study the effects of air moving past solid objects. The wind tunnel consists of an open-ended tubular passage with the building model under test mounted in the middle in its topography.
A powerful fan system moves air past the object; the fan has straightening vanes to smooth the airflow. The test object is instrumented with pressure sensors (and possibly a balance) to measure the forces generated airflow. In addition to building and pedestrian comfort assessments, wind tunnels are used to study the airflow around large structures such as bridges.
Benefit of simulation
There are recent recorded incidents where people have been involved in accidents and injured as a result of strong gusty winds being channelled through streets between buildings causing pedestrians to be knocked over. This is despite the prior assessment of wind loads using standard codes and façades having been designed accordingly.
Evidently, current codes of practice are unable to accurately determine peak maximum pressures in a fully dynamic environment and preventing these incidents requires rigorous testing of conditions or potential conditions before build. Surrounding structures, an unusual terrain or buildings that are geometrically complex in shape also make wind tunnel testing an important procedure.
Curved or angular buildings are becoming more commonplace. However, the risks associated with the placement of these constructions are often overlooked when it comes to the difficulties of predicting the wind response of such buildings; Wintech are able to provide the wind studies for these multifaceted exteriors.
The accuracy of wind loading calculations has a considerable effect on the sizing of glass façades as wind induced pressure is a major design consideration for determining the glass thickness in façades. Significant savings in cladding costs can be made if Wind Tunnel tests are performed in the early stages of the design.
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