Flow and dispersion in an urban cubical cavity

Young Hee Ryu, Jong Jin Baik

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Flow and dispersion in an urban cubical cavity are numerically investigated using a Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations (RANS) model with the renormalization group (RNG) k-ε turbulence closure model. The urban cubical cavity is surrounded by flank walls that are parallel to the streamwise direction, called end-walls, as well as upstream and downstream walls. A primary vortex and secondary vortices including end-wall vortices are formed in the cavity. Because of the end-wall drag effect, the averaged mean-flow kinetic energy in the cavity is smaller than that in an urban street canyon that is open in the along-canyon direction. A trajectory analysis shows that the end-wall vortices cause fluid particles to move in the spanwise direction, indicating that flow in the cavity is essentially three-dimensional. The iso-surfaces of the Okubo-Weiss criterion capture cavity vortices well. The pollutant concentration is high near the bottom of the upstream side in the case of continuous pollutant emission, whereas it is high near the center of the primary vortex in the case of instantaneous pollutant emission. To get some insight into the degree of pollutant escape from the cavity according to various meteorological factors, extensive numerical experiments with different ambient wind speeds and directions, inflow turbulence intensities, and cavity-bottom heating intensities are performed. For each experiment, we calculate the time constant, which is defined as the time taken for the pollutant concentration to decrease to e-1 of its initial value. The time constant decreases substantially with increasing ambient wind speed, and tends to decrease with increasing inflow turbulence intensity and cavity-bottom heating intensity. The time constant increases as the ambient wind direction becomes oblique. High ambient wind speed is found to be the most crucial factor for ventilating the cavity, thus improving air quality in an urban cubical cavity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1721-1729
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for providing valuable comments. This work was funded by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program under Grant CATER 2006-2202 and the Brain Korea 21 Project.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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