Dan Mei1,2, Yan Wang1,2, Qihong Deng 1

  • 1 School of Energy Science and Engineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, Hunan, China
  • 2 Hubei Key Laboratory for Efficient Utilization and Agglomeration of Metallurgic Mineral Resources, Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430081, Hubei, China

Received: December 20, 2016
Revised: February 22, 2017
Accepted: February 24, 2017
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2016.12.0559  

Cite this article:
Mei, D., Wang, Y. and Deng, Q. (2017). Modeling the Airflow and Particle Dispersion in Street Canyons under Unsteady Thermal Environment with Sinusoidal Variation. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 17: 1021-1032. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2016.12.0559


  • Flow patterns in street canyons at unsteady thermal environment were simulated.
  • The sinusoidal variation was used to model the transient atmosphere temperature.
  • Stream functions within the street canyons exhibits a periodic shift over a day.
  • The total particle mass in street canyons decreased as the air velocity increased.
  • The turbulent kinetic energy fluctuated with time due to high buoyancy.



Unstable temperature stratification conditions have a considerable influence on pollutant diffusion inside street canyons. In this study, we tried to model the air flow and particle dispersion in street canyons under unsteady thermal environment. The sinusoidal variation was used to model the atmosphere temperature on the basis of the solar radiation cycle that occurs over a day. The two-dimensional model of step-up building layouts was applied as the research object and an RNG turbulence model was applied to study the dynamic characteristics of instantaneous airflow, the dimensionless air exchange rate (ACH) and turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) in the different canyons. A series of numerical simulations were performed for different Richardson numbers (Ri). The results demonstrated that the stream function within the street canyons exhibited a periodic shift over a day, and the flow morphology gradually evolved from paralleled bilateral vortexes into a row of vortexes, particularly when the ground temperature increased. Moreover, the local PM concentrations at different times were obtained, and they were affected by the flow field patterns. The total PM mass in the street canyon decreased as the air velocity increased. Furthermore, the dimensionless ACH and TKE exhibit a noticeable fluctuation with time at higher Ri and stronger buoyancy. As the Ri decreases, the enhanced forced convection causes the ACH and TKE to remain constant over time. From these results, inhabitants should be advised to adopt preventative measures aimed at the PM pollution according to the time and location where they live.

Keywords: Particle dispersion; Unsteady thermal environment; Sinusoidal variation; Step-up street canyon; Air flow

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