CFD analysis of tensile conical membrane structures as microclimate modifiers in hot arid regions

Elnokaly, Amira A. (2014) CFD analysis of tensile conical membrane structures as microclimate modifiers in hot arid regions. Civil Engineering and Architecture, 2 (2). pp. 92-102. ISSN 2332-1091

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Extensive research has been undertaken to
understand form finding and the structural behaviour of
tensile membrane structures (TMS). In comparison, little is
known about the environmental behaviour of this class of
structure and a lack of predictive tools for informing their
design serves as a barrier to their wider acceptance by the
building industry. This paper presents part of a research
study carried out to investigate the effect of various forms,
configurations and orientations of conical TMS on the
airflow behaviour under, around and above these structures
for application in hot arid climates. The airflow behaviour
and airspeed in an enclosed or semi-enclosed space
significantly influence thermal comfort in hot-arid climates.
Part of this research involved a parametric study of the
airflow behaviour of conical TMS scaled models with
different geometrical configurations and orientations in an
environmental wind tunnel. The results of this experimental
investigation were compared with results from investigations
carried out in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software
“FLUENT 5.5” on 1:20 and 1:1 models. The comparison
showed that the CFD modelling was able to replicate much
of the behaviour observed in the wind tunnel and the
approach was extended to explore arrays of conical TMS.
This paper presents the CFD modelling undertaken to
explore airflows over varying conical tensile fabric
structures. The modelling is carried over single conical
structures either inverted or straight. These investigations
explore how the form, geometry and orientation of a conical
TMS affect the airflow rates. The paper concludes with a
discussion of how the form and geometrical configuration
affect the airflow behaviour and hence the thermal comfort
level of the occupants of the semi-enclosed space.

Keywords:bmjdoi, Tensile Membrane Structures, Airflow, Environmental Behaviour, Comfort Level, CFD Modelling, Wind Tunnel Investigation, JCOpen
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:19488
Deposited On:05 Nov 2015 12:16

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