1R35. Building Aerodynamics. - T Lawson (Univ of Bristol). Imperial Col Press, London. Distributed in USA by World Sci Publ, River Edge NJ. 2001. 286 pp. ISBN 1-86094-187-7. $66.00.

Reviewed by EE Covert (Dept of Aeronaut and Astronaut, MIT, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Rm 9-466, Cambridge MA 02139-4307).

In the Preface, the author defines the purpose of his book quite clearly:

“This book is written specifically for the practicing Architect and Engineer. Thevarious interactions of the wind with buildings are considered in their separate chapters, each of which has an Introduction in which the interaction is explained in general terms. Detailed data are presented in the rest of each chapter explaining the extent of quantifiable information which can be made by the Wind Engineer to the Design Team so that the best compromise between the requirements of wind and all other competing considerations can be made. Typical Tables and Figures from real situations are presented as illustrations of all measurements and calculations. Theory has been kept to a minimum, and is only presented when, in the author’s opinion, the analysis is not well known or is central to the argument.”

The contents are a follows: Summaries, The Wind (Ch 1), Flow around bluff bodies in turbulent flow (Ch 2), Wind loading (Ch 3), Wind environment (Ch 4), Rain and snow (Ch 5), Ventilation (Ch 6), Fire (Ch 7), Emissions from buildings; (Ch 8), Sailing (Ch 9), Experimental methods (Ch 10), Necessary statistics (Ch 11). The Summary is an interesting section of the book. It contains the author’s view of the responsibilities of the Wind Engineer and the Architect. In as much as the author is a well-known authority in the Wind Engineering field, one can’t help but wonder if this division of responsibilities is accepted by the Architects as well.

Generally speaking the book is well done, as might be expected from an author of his stature. Not surprisingly, the author depends heavily on the results from his laboratory at the University of Bristol. This has two consequences. The first is that the author knows whereof he writes. The second implies universal agreement by all members of the community, which may or may not be the case since this discipline is still in development. Chapter 3 has a good section on wind driven dynamic motion of buildings, as well as low order approximations. Chapter 4 has an interesting section called Pitfalls. Chapter 5 discusses the problems caused by rain and snow, and Chapter 6 deals with ventilation. (This reviewer feels that readers in the US would be well served by using the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Handbooks.) Chapter 9 treats sailing in what may be termed urban waters, though the description can be applied to sailing in straits and regions with many islands, though the wind statistics are less likely to be available in the latter case.

The main topic in Chapter 10 is the use of wind tunnels and is a good introduction to that experimental discipline. The author notes that he is not an advocate of this application of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), particularly since CFD is still in the early stages of development. This reviewer shares the author’s lack of enthusiasm for this application for technical reasons, namely unsteady, separated flow remains one of the most challenging phenomena to be simulated by CFD. Chapter 11 is important since the natural winds are not steady and thus knowledge of statistics is essential.

This reviewer feels the author has satisfied his goal. An interested reader should keep in mind the book is written in the UK for practitioners in the UK. So, the author explains the climate in terms of an Icelandic low, a Siberian high, and a subtropical high-pressure cell over the Azores. Further, there are references to standards and data sources that may not be generally available in the US. Other sources like the ESDU information may only be available at specialized libraries. Readers in the US may wish to supplement this book with ASCE Memoranda and Reports on Engineering Practice #67, “Windtunnel Studies on Buildings and Structures.”

This reviewer notes the author’s familiarity with the subject occasionally leads to overlooked details. For example Figure 1.02 on p 11 refers to “Southwest” Trade Winds when he should have used “Southeast” Trade Winds. On p 18 the legend below Figure 1.07 refers to frequency (Hz in wind tunnel time without defining wind tunnel time any where in the book. On p 29 the author states, “The opposite to a bluff body is a plate,” which is true if the plate is lined up with the relative wind, not normal to it. The pictures of surface streamline on pages 50, 51, and 53 could use a little more explanation.

While it may be a matter of local usage, this reviewer found the implied definition of dynamic pressure (pp 34 and 35) as “1/2rhoVsquared” to be ambiguous. The definition would be clearer if the author had written “(1/2)rhoVsquared.” This issue appears from time to time throughout the book in different forms (see the middle of p 63 for example). This reviewer feels this ambiguity is unfortunate since one purpose of the book is the education of architects and students. This reviewer is an engineer who feels the ability to do “back of the envelope calculations” to obtain a rough idea of the size of effects is often a useful skill during team interactions. As such, the ambiguity detracts from learning to estimate accurately.

Building Aerodynamics fills a need, but its general applicability is reduced somewhat by its understandable focus on the weather and standards used in Great Britain. A Professor of Wind Engineering or librarian at a British Institution of higher education may well want to acquire this book either as a text or for reference purposes. Serious research Wind Engineers in the US may want to purchase the book, if they are not already with Lawson’s work.