CFD simulation of the drag effect of urban trees: Source term modification method revisited at the tree scale

Fanxing Zeng, Chengwang Lei, Jianlin Liu, Jianlei Niu, Naiping Gao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Local air circulation is influenced by the drag forces exerted by urban vegetation. In this study, tree canopy parameterization in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with source term modifications is conducted at the tree scale, which builds upon the models previously used in the literature. A simplified three-dimensional model representing tree canopies is resolved and validated against available wind tunnel experiment. The prediction of turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) is shown to be highly sensitive to the model coefficients in the source term of turbulence dissipation rate (TDR). No optimal set of the model coefficients in the TDR source term can be identified. However, Cε4 >Cε5 is found to better reproduce the turbulent quantities behind the canopy than Cε4 =Cε5. The reduction of Cε5 value from 1.5 to 0.4 yields a higher TDR source term level by one order of magnitude. The prediction of the mean velocity is primarily controlled by the form drag coefficient, which is heavily correlated to all source terms and their components. Results indicate the feasibility of using a more straightforward modification method in the vegetated microclimate simulations by only adding momentum source terms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102079
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Canopy flow
  • CFD
  • Drag effect
  • Source terms
  • Urban trees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Transportation

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