Influence of Turbulence Modeling on Cfd Simulation Results of Tornado-Structure Interaction


Tornadic wind flow is inherently turbulent. A turbulent wind flow is characterized by fluctuation of the velocity in the flow field with time, and it is a dynamic process that consists of eddy formation, eddy transportation, and eddy dissipation due to viscosity. Properly modeling turbulence significantly increases the accuracy of numerical simulations. The lack of a clear and detailed comparison between turbulence models used in tornadic wind flows and their effects on tornado induced pressure demonstrates a significant research gap. To bridge this research gap, in this study, two representative turbulence modeling approaches are applied in simulating real-world tornadoes to investigate how the selection of turbulence models affects the simulated tornadic wind flow and the induced pressure on structural surface. To be specific, LES with Smagorinsky-Lilly Subgrid and k-ω are chosen to simulate the 3D full-scale tornado and the tornado-structure interaction with a building present in the computational domain. To investigate the influence of turbulence modeling, comparisons are made of velocity field and pressure field of the simulated wind field and of the pressure distribution on building surface between the cases with different turbulence modeling.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


National Science Foundation, Grant 1455709

Keywords and Phrases

CFD; civil engineering; pressure; tornado; turbulence models; velocity

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1598-6225; 1226-6116

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 Aug 2022