Lecture professor Greg Kopp: Aerodynamics of low-rise buildings in tornadoes

Abstract:  A comprehensive understanding of wind loads in tornadoes is lacking due to a variety of reasons. In particular, a detailed lack of knowledge of building aerodynamics and the wind field close to the ground are significant issues that are far from being resolved. The presentation focuses on the issues related to building aerodynamics and discusses wind tunnel procedures that may be used to increase our understanding and ability to calculate such wind loads. A conditional-averaging approach is recommended, which requires that temporally and, in certain circumstances, spatially-resolved wind field measurements be made simultaneously with the aerodynamic loads. Such an approach also enables comparisons with “traditional” atmospheric boundary layers, which are important given the large body of knowledge of building aerodynamics in these wind fields. This approach implies that tornadoes can be viewed as gusts with particular structure (i.e., vorticity and velocity fields, swirl, shape, size, etc.). As a result, this approach may enable determination of wind loads for tornadoes by using straight-line wind tunnels in the future.

Bio: Professor G.A. Kopp received a B.Sc. from the University of Manitoba in 1989, a M.Eng. from McMaster University in 1991, and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1995, all in Mechanical Engineering. He is a Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Western Ontario (Canada) where he holds the ImpactWx Chair in Severe Storms Engineering, and is also Professor of Wind Engineering at the University of Birmingham (UK). He is currently Chair of the ASCE 49 Standards Committee on Wind Tunnel Testing of Buildings and Other Structures and also of the International Association of Wind Engineers’ Committee on the International EF-Scale. He is the lead researchers of the Northern Tornadoes Project, a new effort aimed at identifying and obtaining high resolution data for every tornado in Canada.

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