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Wind Loads:

The Nature of Wind

CE 694R Fall 2007
T. Bart Quimby, P.E., Ph.D.
UAA Civil Engineering
Quimby & Associates

Methods of Research
Field Observations
FEMA funds recognizance teams to visit disaster sites.
Data collected from field observations has improved with the
advent of video cameras!

Wind Tunnel Studies.

Computation Fluid Mechanics requires huge amounts of
computing capacity.

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The Nature of Wind

Wind is chaotic

Wind speed varies considerably at any given

instant in time.

Wind speed generally increases with height

Gust size varies along wind, across wind,

and vertical
We try to make sense out of this chaos with
general approximations.

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Wind Speed Determination

Wind Maps

Contour maps of basic wind speed expressed in terms of 3

second gust.
The last change to the Alaska map was in ASCE 7-05 when
it was adjusted for change to 3 second gust. No effort was
made to incorporate new Alaskan data.
Generated using probabilistic methods.
Probabilistic methods

Need annual maximum wind speed for 10 or more consecutive

Use Fisher-Tippett Type I simplified procedure given in Simiu &
Scanlan (1986)

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Alaska Wind Speeds

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Measurement of Wind Speed

Old methods measured wind in terms of fastest-mile

at 10m (33') above ground at Exposure C.

Current methods of determining wind speed is in
terms of 3- second gust speed.
Important to know basis for wind speed

Wind speeds used in designs prior to ASCE 7-95 are not directly
comparable to wind speeds in current designs.
75 mph fastest-mile = 90 mph 3-second gust
Hurricane 120 mph fastest-mile = 152 mph 3-sec. gust
See ASCE 7-95 Commentary 6.5.2.

ASCE 7-95 and later uses 3 second gust speeds.

Basic Wind Speed is determined for a 50-yr mean recurrence

interval (MRI).
Can convert to other MRI using ASCE 7-05 Table C6-7.
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Fast Mile
3 sec Gust

ASCE 7-95 Figure C6-1

V3 = Vfm(V3/V3600)/(Vt /V3600)
Convert 90 mph fastest mile to 3 sec gust:

Averaging time, t = (3600 s/hr)/(90 mph) = 40 s/mi

From Chart: V40/V3600 = 1.29
From Chart: V3/V3600 = 1.53
V3 = 90 mph (1.53/1.29) = 107 mph
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Variation of Wind Speed with

Ground obstructions retard the movement of air close

to the ground surface, reducing wind speed

At some height above ground, the movement of air is
no longer affected by ground obstruction. This is
called Gradient Height, Zg, which is function of
surface roughness.
ASCE 7 use an empirical power law equation to
compute the variation in wind speed with height and
surface roughness.
See ASCE 7-05 Commentary
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Topographic Effect
Local abrupt

topography affects
wind near the ground.
Wind speed depends
on shape of hill,
location of building,
and height above
The current procedure
was first presented in
ASCE 7-95
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Wind/Structure Interaction
Aerodynamics: Pressure and Force

Buffeting: Along-Wind Resonance

Only important for flexible structures.

Vortex Shedding

Not included in ASCE 7

Aeroelastic: Galloping, Flutter

Requires wind tunnel testing

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