Impingement of rain drops on a tall building

V. Etyemezian, C. I. Davidson, M. Zufall, W. Dai, S. Finger, M. Striegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Soiling on the walls of limestone buildings can be washed off when the surface erodes due to rain impingement. In this study, the delivery of rain to the 42-story Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, represented by a 30mx30mx160m rectangular block, was modeled using the RNG K-ε model for turbulence and Lagrangian trajectory calculations for individual rain drops. Local Effect Factors (LEF) for the rectangular block compared well with earlier work in the literature. LEFs increased with wind speed, raindrop size, and height along the block. Wind speed, direction, and rain intensity were measured continuously over a seven-week period and provided input parameters for modeling rain fluxes to the Cathedral of Learning. Model results suggested that sections of the building receiving larger amounts of rain corresponded to white areas, indicating that rain fluxes have a significant effect on the soiling patterns. Intermediate wind speeds (2.5 and 5ms-1) resulted in high rain fluxes. Although less frequent, high wind speeds also resulted in high rain fluxes. Much of the rain was delivered to the block as 1.25 and 2.5mm drops with 5mm drops having a smaller effect. Consideration of wind incidence angles other than 0°was shown to be important for future modeling efforts. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2399-2412
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid rain
  • Buildings
  • CFD
  • Driving rain
  • Soiling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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