Partial Turbulence Simulation for
Predicting Peak Wind Loads on Buildings

October 16, 2020 | 11am - 12pm PST


Large-scale wind tunnel testing is preferred for low-rise buildings or components of tall buildings for maintaining modeling accuracy and minimizing Reynolds number effects. As the model size increases, the ability to obtain a large enough turbulence integral scale is usually compromised by the limited dimensions of the wind tunnel. This results in a turbulence spectrum lacking low-frequency turbulence content. This deficiency can have significant effects on the estimated peak wind loads.

Partial Turbulence Simulation (PTS) is an analytical methodology to compensate for the effects of the missing low-frequency content of the spectrum in post-test analysis. In this methodology the turbulence spectrum is divided into two distinct statistical processes, one at high frequencies which can be simulated in the wind tunnel, and one at low frequencies which can be treated in post-test analysis using the assumptions of quasi-steady theory. The joint probability of load resulting from the two processes is derived from which full-scale equivalent peak pressure coefficients can be obtained.

The efficacy and validity of the method and its various assumptions are assessed by comparing predicted peak pressure coefficients from tests on large-scale models of the Silsoe cube and Texas Tech University (TTU) building in the Wall of Wind facility at Florida International University (FIU) with the corresponding full-scale data. This method, although developed in the Wall of Wind facility at FIU, can be equally used in conventional boundary layer wind tunnels and has the potential to enhance the ability of existing boundary layer wind tunnel facilities to predict full scale wind loads.


Dr. Maryam Asghari Mooneghi has a broad and multidisciplinary background with more than 10 years of experience in structural engineering for civil and mechanical engineering applications. She has experience in experimental and computational wind engineering, performance based seismic analysis and design of buildings and bridges and computational solid mechanics. She is an expert in nonlinear finite element analysis for a range of applications. She has developed data analysis platforms and robust numerical methods leveraging cutting-edge computational mechanics theories. She is currently a structural engineer with AECOM working on all aspects of analysis and design of transportation structures mainly bridges located in high seismic zones.

Prior to joining AECOM, she was a structural analyst with the Advanced Technology and Research team in Arup and was involved in multiple high-end projects on the performance-based seismic analysis and retrofit of structures as well as computational simulation of wind loads on the built environment. She received her PhD in 2014 from Florida International University performing research at the Wall of Wind facility. She developed novel testing and data analysis techniques concerning large-scale wind tunnel testing and completed multiple research projects aimed towards achieving wind-hazard resilient structures.

Her research has led to development and improvement of codes and standards including ASCE7 and ANSI/SPRI-RP4. She is a part-time lecturer with the Civil Engineering Department at California State University at Sacramento where she teaches structural engineering courses. Dr. Asghari Mooneghi keeps abreast of emerging best practices in natural hazard research, as an active member of the NHERI Science Plan and Structural Wind Engineering Committee of the ASCE.

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