Immersed boundary method applied to flow past a tree skeleton

Niels Troldborg*, Niels N. Sørensen, Ebba Dellwik, Horia Hangan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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We present numerical predictions and experimental observations of the drag force on the major branches of a model tree as well as the wind field in its wake. The tree model was mounted on a force sensor in a wind tunnel. The numerical simulations solved both the Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes and detached eddy simulations, in combination with an immersed boundary model representation of the tree, while the measurements were obtained in the WindEEE Dome. Contrary to previous studies on trees or fractal structures, we find that the simulated forces on the tree skeleton were strongly dependent on the roughness of its surface. Upon setting a proper surface roughness, the simulations were capable of predicting both forces and wake fields, which were in good agreement with the observations both in terms of mean wind speed, mean turbulence and spectra. Furthermore, both simulations and observations showed that turbulence and mean wind speed were reduced for up to a distance of two tree heights downwind of the tree skeleton, underlining the efficiency of trees to remove momentum from a flow.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108603
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Immersed boundary method
  • RANS
  • DES
  • Tree


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