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Aerodynamic Databases and Electronic Standards for Wind Loads: A Pilot Application.



Emil Simiu, John Lin, T M. Whalen, D Surry


As part of ongoing National Institute of Standards and Technology research on the development of a new generation of standard provisions for wind loads, we present results of a pilot project on the use of large aerodynamic databases for the improved estimation of wind-induced bending moments and shear forces in low-rise building frames. We use records of wind pressure time histories measured at a large number of taps on the building surface in the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel of the University of Western Ontario. Time histories of moments and shear forces in a frame are obtained by adding pressures at all tape tributary to that frame multiplied by the respective tributary areas and influence coefficients. The latter were obtained from frame designs provided by CECO Building Systems. We compare results obtained by using the pressure time history records with results based on ASCE 7 standard provisions. The comparison shows clearly that provisions which use aerodynamic databases containing the type of data described in this work can result in designs that are significantly more risk-consistent as well as both safer and more economical than designs based on conventional standard provisions. We outline future research on improved design methodologies made possible by our proposed approach to wind loading standardization. Finally, the proposed methodologies may be used for damage assessment for insurance purposes.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 931
Report Number


aerodynamics, codes, standards, databases, structural engineering, wind engineering


Simiu, E. , Lin, J. , Whalen, T. and Surry, D. (1998), Aerodynamic Databases and Electronic Standards for Wind Loads: A Pilot Application., Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created August 1, 1998, Updated November 10, 2018