Semester of Graduation

Spring

Degree

Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)

Department

Civil Engineering

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Different roadways around the United States are prone to extreme winds that cause significant damage to the infrastructure, putting motorists in harm’s way. One of the main roadway components that could severely harm a motorist if structural failure occurs is an overhead sign structure. Overhead sign structures have been observed to be one of the many structures that are damaged or fail under extreme wind conditions. The focus of this study is to use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as a means to observe the effects of airflow acting on and around sign panels attached to an overhead sign structure, with the purpose of analyzing and comparing drag force and drag coefficient values of standard sign panels, porous panels, and curved panels. This study shows that when used correctly, CFD is a reliable tool for engineering applications. It also shows that porous and curved panels are viable methods to reduce wind forces acting on these panels in order to minimize infrastructure damage and increase roadway safety. The results clearly show that applying these characteristics to panels result in a reduced drag force; small, uniform holes have more resistance than larger holes even with the same porosity factor; and porous panels result in a vorticity region further downstream reducing the pressure region on the leeward side of the panel and lowering the drag.

Committee Chair

Aly, Aly, Ph.D

Available for download on Friday, April 09, 2027

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