Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Dr. Wenxing Zhou and Dr. Eric Ho


The Western University Aerodynamic Database (WAD) has been developed as an alternative means for structural engineers to estimate the preliminary design wind loads on tall buildings. The database consists of aerodynamic loads obtained from either the force-balance or pressure model tests on 56 tall buildings in their simulated actual surroundings carried out in the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory at Western University. The data for a given building include the statistics of the normalized aerodynamic loads such as the means, root-mean squares, and power spectral density functions of the base bending moments in two orthogonal directions and base torque. To estimate the preliminary design wind loads on a target building, the fuzzy logic theory is employed to select the reference buildings from the database whose aerodynamic characteristics and upstream conditions are similar to those of the target building. A modified three-dimensional moment gust loading factor approach is proposed to estimate the wind-induced responses of the target building for all wind directions. The WAD-based procedure for estimating the wind-induced responses is validated by comparing the estimated responses with the corresponding responses obtained from the force-balance or pressure model tests for 36 tall buildings included in WAD. The comparison suggests that the WAD-based procedure can provide reasonably accurate estimates of base moments and accelerations of tall buildings, and is therefore considered adequate to be used in their preliminary design. Finally, the wind-induced responses predicted using the WAD-based procedures are also compared with those obtained from the wind load provisions in three major design codes, i.e. ASCE 7-10, NBCC 2010 and AS/NZS 1170.2: 2011, as well as the NatHaz Aerodynamic Load Database developed at University of Notre Dame. The results of the comparison study show that the WAD-based predictions of the wind loads are more accurate than the above-mentioned methods, indicating that the WAD-based procedure is a viable alternative to evaluating the preliminary design wind loads for tall buildings.