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Evaluation of Wind Pressure Coefficients on Low-Rise Building Enclosures Using Modern Wind Tunnel Data



Dat Duthinh, Matthew L. Gierson, Philip N. Bryan, Bilal Ayyub


External pressure coefficients specified in the ASCE 7-10 Standard, used to determine design wind pressures for the components and cladding of buildings, are developed from wind tunnel test data that date back 30 to 50 years. In recent decades, advances in pressure measurement and computer technology have made it possible to obtain simultaneous pressure records, with high sampling rates, at many more wind tunnel pressure taps than was the case in the past. This paper proposes a method to calculate external pressure coefficients using aerodynamic wind tunnel databases such as Tokyo Polytechnic University’s large, publicly available database. Voronoi diagrams are used to assign tributary areas to irregularly spaced pressure taps. User-defined grids of various size and shape are placed at various offsets over the building surface to perform area-averaging of the pressure time series. Following consideration of all wind directions for which measurements are obtained in the wind tunnel, the peak pressures are determined assuming a Gumbel distribution, and are extrapolated to a standard storm duration. The external peak pressure coefficients are then plotted as functions of their corresponding area for various zones of the building enclosure to produce plots similar to the ASCE 7-10 specifications on components and cladding. Results for three gable buildings analyzed in the paper show that the current ASCE 7-10 specifications can severely underestimate the external pressure coefficients for components and cladding of low-rise buildings.
Journal of Structural Engineering-ASCE


ASCE 7-10, external pressure coefficients, gable roof, low-rise buildings, TPU Aerodynamic Database, Voronoi diagrams, wind pressure, wind tunnel


Duthinh, D. , Gierson, M. , , P. and Ayyub, B. (2017), Evaluation of Wind Pressure Coefficients on Low-Rise Building Enclosures Using Modern Wind Tunnel Data, Journal of Structural Engineering-ASCE (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created November 30, 2017, Updated August 17, 2020