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Wind and Structures
  Volume 30, Number 4, April 2020, pages 339-366

Flow-conditioning of a subsonic wind tunnel to model boundary layer flows
Tarek Ghazal, Jiaxiang Chen, Moustaf Aboutabikh, Haitham Aboshosha and Sameh Elgamal

    This study aims at modeling boundary layers (BLs) encountered in sparse and built environments (i.e., open, suburban and urban) at the subsonic Wind Tunnel (WT) at Ryerson University (RU). This WT has an insignificant turbulence intensity and requires a flow-conditioning system consisting of turbulence generating elements (i.e spires, roughness blocks, barriers) to achieve proper turbulent characteristics. This system was developed and validated in the current study in three phases. In phase I, several Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) simulations of the tunnel with generating elements were conducted to understand the effect of each element on the flow. This led to a preliminary design of the system, in which horizontal barriers (slats) are added to the spires to introduce turbulence at higher levels of the tunnel. This design was revisited in phase II, to specify slat dimensions leading to target BLs encountered by tall buildings. It was found that rougher BLs require deeper slats and, therefore, two-layer slats (one fixed and one movable) were implemented to provide the required range of slat depth to model most BLs. This system only involves slat movement to change the BL, which is very useful for automatic wind tunnel testing of tall buildings. The system was validated in phase III by conducting experimental wind tunnel testingof the system and comparing the resulting flow field with the target BL fields considering two length scales typically used for wind tunnel testing. A very good match was obtained for all wind field characteristics which confirms accuracy of the system.
Key Words
    Wind Tunnel (WT); flow conditioning system; Boundary Layer (BL); turbulence; Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD); Large Eddy Simulation (LES)
Tarek Ghazal, Jiaxiang Chen, Moustaf Aboutabikh, Haitham Aboshosha and Sameh Elgamal: Civil Engineering Department, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria, St. M5B 2K3, Toronto, Canada

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