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Re-visiting the wind tunnel method for determining wind loads on low buildings

Event organised by ICE

10 November 2021
18:00 - 19:30 GMT

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The Scruton Lecture is part of ICE’s prestige event series and is held in honour of Christopher ‘Kit’ Scruton. Scruton played a role in the evolution of wind engineering from pragmatic provider of wind loading data to ‘prophetic’ predictor of structural response of increasingly complex structures in increasingly chaotic flows.

The use of boundary layer wind tunnels for determining wind loads on low-rise buildings has always been a challenge since there is a trade-off between the simulation of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) and the size and accuracy of the building model. To fully simulate the turbulence spectrum in most wind tunnels typically requires a small model scale and a relatively low Reynolds number.

In contrast, a larger model scale improves the Reynolds number and allows for more accurate building features to be modelled, but at the expense of the accuracy of the wind simulation. This conundrum will be examined in the lecture. In particular, recent research into the fundamental mechanisms related to peak pressures on low building surfaces along with theoretical developments suggest that mismatches in the simulated ABL characteristics can be corrected implying that larger model scales can be used when needed.


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Recorded Lecture


 Dr David Hargreaves

Dr David Hargreaves

Engineering. University of Nottingham

Associate Professor

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Dr David Hargreaves

Since graduating as a physicist in 1989, David Hargreaves has worked as a modeler of air and water flow in the environment. His first role was with British Nuclear Fuels plc, where he created software to model groundwater flow. He held this position for five years and transferred to the University of Nottingham to earn his PhD in the spread of pollution behind moving road vehicles.

This was followed by a postdoctoral fellow in a program on ventilation of deep coal mines funded by the European Union which led to a teaching position. David later returned to the industry and worked for Fluent, a leading provider of computational fluid dynamics software. There he worked on consulting projects, customer support, sales, and gained true insights into many industries such as healthcare (drug delivery and blood flow), fuel cells, and even extrusion of dog biscuits!

Returning to the University of Nottingham, he took up his current position in the Department of Civil Engineering, focusing on modelling wind flow, whilst also working with colleagues in chemistry and mechanical engineering on many interesting projects. He teaches drainage design, water supply and flood prediction to third-year students and a fourth-year module in wind engineering. He is currently chairing the UK Wind Engineering Society, a specialised subject division of the Institution of Civil Engineers.