Hybrid simulation of thunderstorm outflows and wind excited response of structures


Structural components such as buildings, bridges, and tunnels are often affected by actions of winds and thunderstorms outflows. The need to control their effects on structures have resulted in numerous researchers in the wind engineering field. There is a great need to improve on the methods used for analyzing the impact of winds on structures as the currently available methods do not give the necessary insight. Getting accurate and proper data from the actions of thunderstorms on structures have become very hard for the researchers due to the complexity and short time duration involved. These challenges, however, seems to be overcome by the new hybrid simulation system proposed. It will ensure that the thunderstorms outflows are simulated, and their respective responses on the structures analyzed concerning time.

Researchers at University of Genoa led by Professor Giovanni Solari developed a simulation method for the wind field velocity in thunderstorm outflows. The method involved a hybrid technique that will help in the collection of the data and various information for analysis. The analysis also included several equations and mathematical principles such as the Fourier Transforms. The work is currently published in the journal, Meccanica.

The authors presented a more comprehensive and simple strategy of simulating thunderstorm outflows associated with velocity fields as compared by the initial simulation method that involves the classical application of Monte Carlo simulations. It also provides a more effective and efficient method of reading and recording the wind velocities. The results from the simulation of the three primary tests conducted showed negligible errors when compared to the available data thus verifying the eligibility of the proposed simulation strategy.

The authors successfully investigated wind-excited responses through modal analysis and time domain approaches. In the simulation analysis, some parameters such as aerodynamic damping and transient aerodynamic effects were neglected. The obtained results also helped in getting the information about classic analysis. This was done about synoptic stationary cyclones. It was however observed that thunderstorms outflows often induce a major structural response as compared to synoptic stationary cyclones. However, both synoptic and thunderstorms events experience similar qualitative responses as far as the dynamic response and wind loading on the structures are concerned. The same similarities for the two cases are too witnessed with the aerodynamic admittance.

One  significant advantage the study has is that the simulation technique can as well be applied to other several structures. The study by Professor Giovanni Solari and his team will help in gathering different data involving such structures which will thus be analyzed to produce robust results that may be further used in understanding other effects such as those resulting from aerodynamic damping. The proposed technique has thus proved to be a vital engineering tool in performing complex calculations related to hybrid simulations. The technique will also ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the simulations in addressing other delicate challenges associated with structures such as the non-linear effects.

Hybrid simulation of thunderstorm outflows and wind excited response of structures . Advances in Engineering

Hybrid simulation of thunderstorm outflows and wind excited response of structures . Advances in Engineering

About the author

Giovanni Solari was born in Genoa, Italy, on 9 January 1953. He is professor of Structural and Wind Engineering at the University of Genoa, where he is also Responsible of the Wind Tunnel at the Polytechnic School. He is Senior Adviser at the Beijing Jiaotong University, China, Visiting Professor at the Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay, Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, Honorary Doctor Honoris Causa at the Technical University of Civil Engineering, Bucharest, and Honorary Professor at the Shijiazhuang Tiedao University, China.

He was awarded with the Robert Scanlan Medal 2017 by the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) of ASCE, with the Raymond Reese Research Prize 2014 by Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of ASCE, with the Otto Flachsbart Medal 2013 by Windtechnologische Gesellschaftd, with the Alan Davenport Medal 2011 by the International Association for Wind Engineering (IAWE), with the Jack Cermak Medal 2006 by SEI and the Engineering Mechanics Division of ASCE.
He is Series Editor of Springer Tracts in Civil Engineering and former president of IAWE, of the International Panel appointed to study the new organisation of IAWE, and of the Italian National Association for Wind Engineering. He was also Co-Editor in Chief of Wind & Structures and IAWE European and African Region Coordinator.

He is EMI Fellow, Member of the Liguria Academy of Science and Literature, and Editorial Board Member of several international journals. He is author of nearly 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He was Scientific Responsible of the European Projects “Wind and Ports” and “Wind, Ports and Sea”. He is currently the Principal Investigator of the ERC AdG Project THUNDERR.

About the author

Davide Rainisio was born in Imperia, Italy, on 17 August 1990. He took his Master Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Genoa and there he was a Research Associate. He was hired as a structural engineer at Sidercad S.p.A., Genoa.

About the author

Patrizia De Gaetano was born in Imperia, Italy, on 28 May 1978. She took her Master Degree in Environmental Sciences and her PhD in Geophysics at the University of Genoa, where she was a Post Doc Scientist for many years and published several papers in international journals. She is currently hired as specialized technician in marine modeling at Regional Agency of Environmental Protection of Liguria Region.


Solari, G., Rainisio, D., & De Gaetano, P. (2017). Hybrid simulation of thunderstorm outflows and wind-excited response of structures. MMeccanica, 52(13), 3197-3220.52(13), 3197-3220.


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