20 Jul 2022
20 Jul 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Sensitivity analysis of a built environment exposed to debris flow impacts with 3-D numerical simulations

Xun Huang1,2, Zhijian Zhang1, and Guoping Xiang3,4 Xun Huang et al.
  • 1Geography and Tourism College, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing, 401331, China
  • 2Chongqing Key Laboratory of Surface Process and Environment Remote Sensing in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing, 401331, China
  • 3405 Geological Brigade of Sichuan Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources, Dujiangyan, 611830, China
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment Protection, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu, 610059, China

Abstract. The characteristics of exposed built environments have a significant effect on debris flow impacts on buildings, but knowledge about their interactions is still limited. This paper presents a sensitivity analysis on the overall peak impact forces on a building resulting from the built environment parameters, including the orientation, opening scale of the target building, and azimuthal angle and distance of surrounding buildings. The impact forces were obtained using the FLOW-3D model, a computational fluid dynamics approach, verified through the physical modeling results. The results show that the surrounding buildings’ properties have significant roles in determining the peak impact forces. A shielding effect or canalization effect, which reduce or increase impact forces, respectively, can be produced by changing the azimuth angle. A deflection wall for building protection is recommended according to the shielding effect. A narrowed flow path, determined by both the azimuth angle and distance, has a significant effect on the variation in impact forces. In addition, it is concluded that a splitting wedge should be designed following a criterion of avoiding the highest flow velocity – the smallest approaching angle – appearing near the longest wall element. The protruding parts caused by changing the building’s orientation contribute to increasing impact loads within a shielding area. A limited opening effect is observed on the whole building if there is sufficient time for material intrusion. The insights gained contribute to a better understanding of building vulnerability indicators and local migration design against debris flow hazard.

Xun Huang et al.

Status: open (until 07 Sep 2022)

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Xun Huang et al.

Xun Huang et al.


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Short summary
A sensitivity analysis on the building impact force resulting from the representative built environment parameters is executed through FLOW-3D model. The surrounding buildings’ properties, especially the azimuthal angle, have been confirmed to play significant roles in determining the peak impact forces. The single and combined effect of built environments are analyzed in detail. This will improve the understanding of vulnerability assessment and migration design against debris flow hazards.