Investigation of helicopter downwash effect on pedestrian comfort using CFD

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Title: Investigation of helicopter downwash effect on pedestrian comfort using CFD
Authors: Bernardo, PaulMac Réamoinn, RéamonnYoung, PatrickBrennan, DiarmuidCardiff, PhilipKeenahan, Jennifer
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/11456
Date: 4-Dec-2019
Online since: 2020-08-06T15:48:29Z
Abstract: This study employed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to investigate the impact of helicopter downwash on pedestrian comfort in a representative low-rise streetscape. A time-averaged approach was adopted, where propulsion from the helicopter blades was included using the so-called rotor disc method, as implemented in the open-source software OpenFoam. The modelling approach was validated by comparing downstream air velocities with experimental measurements. The effect of helicopter downwash on pedestrian comfort in a low-rise built environment, representative of an Irish city streetscape, was then analysed. It was found that pedestrian comfort significantly decreased in the immediate vicinity of the helicopter, while minor propagating effects were felt further downstream. The effects of building height, street width and prevailing winds were then examined. In general, it was found that taller buildings tended to improve street-level pedestrian comfort, while narrow streets surrounded by tall buildings tended to funnel the downwash towards the street level, decreasing pedestrian comfort. The main conclusion is that although the effect of helicopter downwash is smaller in magnitude compared with that of prevailing winds, a local mitigation must be established to deal with it.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: ICE Publishing
Journal: Infrastructure Asset Management
Start page: 1
End page: 10
Copyright (published version): 2019 ICE Publishing
Keywords: Health and safetyMathematical modellingTown and city planningComputational mechanicsComputational fluid dynamicsFluid dynamics
DOI: 10.1680/jinam.19.00060
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Civil Engineering Research Collection

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