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OpenFOAM large-eddy simulations of atmospheric boundary layer turbulence for wind engineering applications



Liang Shi, Donghun Yeo


Statistical properties such as the spectral density and spatial coherence of boundary layer turbulence affect bluff body aerodynamics and structural responses. In this report, the open-source toolbox OpenFOAM is employed to perform LES simulations of boundary layer flows with rough ground and to obtain turbulence statistics. The one-equation-eddy SGS model is used for the subgrid-scale motions while the wall shear model is applied at the ground. The mean velocity profiles follow the logarithmic law except the near-ground region owing to the limited accuracy of the SGS model. The Reynolds stresses, the third-order moments and the energy budgets are reasonably well represented. The power spectra agree with the modified Kaimal expressions at low frequencies. Additional research is planned on the simulation of higher frequency turbulence spectra. The spatial coherence functions are exponential and consistent with the expressions commonly used in wind engineering applications.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1944
Report Number


Atmospheric boundary layer, large-eddy simulations (LES), OpenFOAM, turbulence, wind engineering


Shi, L. and Yeo, D. (2016), OpenFOAM large-eddy simulations of atmospheric boundary layer turbulence for wind engineering applications, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 21, 2024)


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Created November 29, 2016, Updated June 2, 2021