The old saying goes that only two things in life are certain - death and taxes. Let’s add to this the power of wind.
Throughout the world, the frequency and intensity of storms are increasing, and with that, the devastation that follows. Therefore the branch of science dealing with wind loads on buildings is becoming more important than ever.
The latest wind research
Coresteel’s in-house Head Engineer Kerry McCollum, recently attended a ‘wind load and structures’ seminar in Auckland.
“While there is a lot that we do know, I was really surprised to learn that the science of aerodynamics around a building is so complex that scientists know more about the structure of black holes than they do about the complex interaction of wind around a building,” says Kerry.
The seminar was led by Professor Richard Flay, an internationally renowned mechanical engineer and expert in the science of ‘bluff body aerodynamics’ ( the science of wind loads on buildings). “Prof Flay is part of the team that developed new instrumentation to measure the wind environment around buildings. Plus his expertise contributed to New Zealand’s successful America’s Cup win, when testing the boat’s Cyclors in The University of Auckland’s wind tunnel.”
So what is Coresteel doing to engineer for wind?
“By knowing how wind and buildings interact, we can increase the efficient use of materials to value engineer buildings. But this isn’t a simple calculation. In fact, there are a number of properties to take into account. Simplifying the process to the basics, we need; dimensions, orientation, location, topography, wind speed and shielding (level of other buildings or landscape features around your building).”
The future of structural bracing
In addition to the standard engineering calculations, an innovation from Coresteel’s sister company Shed Fix, DonoBrace is a cost-effective way to resist lateral wind loads to prevent the collapse of buildings.
“Going back to Prof Flay’s work on Team New Zealand’s yacht, our new product, DonoBrace, is a great comparison to the rigging of a yacht, which uses tension to hold the mast in place.”
“DonoBrace has been dynamically tested for both wind loads and is also New Zealand’s only rod-bracing system to be dynamically tested to simulate behaviour in earthquakes.”