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  Cornell University

MAE Publications and Papers

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

New article: Modeling the Effects of a Solid Barrier on Pollutant Dispersion under Various Atmospheric Stability Conditions

Article: Steffens JT, Heist DK, Perry SG, Zhang KM, (2013) Modeling the Effects of a Solid Barrier on Pollutant Dispersion under Various Atmospheric Stability Conditions. Atmospheric Environment, 69; 76-85


Abstract:  There is a growing need for developing mitigation strategies for near-road air pollution. Roadway design is being considered as one of the potential options. Particularly, it has been suggested that sound barriers, erected to reduce noise, may prove effective at decreasing pollutant concentrations. However, there is still a lack of mechanistic understanding of how solid barriers affect pollutant transport, especially under a variety of meteorological conditions. In this study, we utilized the Comprehensive Turbulent Aerosol Dynamics and Gas Chemistry (CTAG) model to simulate the spatial gradients of SF6 concentrations behind a solid barrier under a variety of atmospheric stability conditions collected during the Near Road Tracer Study (NRTS08). We employed two different CFD models, RANS and LES. A recirculation zone, characterized by strong mixing, forms in the wake of a barrier. It is found that this region is important for accurately predicting pollutant dispersion, but is often insufficiently resolved by the less complex RANS model. The RANS model was found to perform adequately away from the leading edge of the barrier. The LES model, however, performs consistently well at all flow locations. Therefore, the LES model will make a significant improvement compared to the RANS model in regions of strong recirculating flow or edge effects. Our study suggests that advanced simulation tools can potentially provide a variety of numerical experiments that may prove useful for roadway design communities to intelligently design roadways, making effective use of roadside barriers.

(C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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