Numerical investigation of wind-induced airflow and interunit dispersion characteristics in multistory residential buildings


C. M. Mak

Department of Building Services Engineering

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hung Hom, Kowloon

Hong Kong

Tel.: +852-2766-5856

Fax: +852-2765-7198



Compared with the buoyancy-dominated upward spread, the interunit dispersion of pollutants in wind-dominated conditions is expected to be more complex and multiple. The aim of this study is to investigate the wind-induced airflow and interunit pollutant dispersion in typical multistory residential buildings using computational fluid dynamics. The mathematical model used is the nonstandard k–ε model incorporated with a two-layer near-wall modification, which is validated against experiments of previous investigators. Using tracer gas technique, the reentry of exhaust air from each distinct unit to other units on the same building, under different practical conditions, is quantified, and then, the possible dispersion routes are revealed. The units on the floor immediately below the source on the windward side, and vertically above it on the leeward side, where the reentry ratios are up to 4.8% and 14.9%, respectively, should be included on the high-infection list. It is also found that the presence of balconies results in a more turbulent near-wall flow field, which in turn significantly changes the reentry characteristics. Comparison of the dispersion characteristics of the slab-like building and the more complicated building in cross (#) floorplan concludes that distinctive infectious control measures should be implemented in these two types of buildings.