How is pollution transported under the influence of wind?
The Department of Environmental Design (University of Malta) research group specialises in environmental wind engineering which is a field of research that is concerned with the impact of wind on various environmental aspects and contexts. A few examples of focus areas falling under this field include: pedestrian comfort conditions, natural ventilation of buildings, wind-driven rain and its impact on buildings and structures, heat island and thermal effects, dust transport and pollution transport under the influence of wind.
The study of these effects can be performed through a combination of approaches including field measurements, wind tunnel measurements as well as computational and numerical means. The department of environmental design has expertise in performing wind engineering computations using advanced techniques that require extensive computational resources. Simulations are generally carried out on super computing clusters which can provide elaborate information on the wind flow physics which can in turn provide valuable information for engineering and architectural design. Such models have to be validated using experimental measurements. In the VARCITIES project, field measurements in the locality of Gzira will be performed which will be used to inform and validate these simulations. Once a simulation is validated, various conditions can be tested in a controlled manner to investigate the effect of various variables such as, for instance, traffic flow frequency or the effects of various vegetation interventions on site.
The science dimension of VARCITIES is also complemented by other fields of research related to Urban Design, health and well-being in cities as well as sociological aspects. In view of this need for multi-disciplinarity, the project is led by the department of Environmental Design but also includes a number of other supporting faculties and departments from across the University of Malta including the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation (CEBI), the department of Chemistry, the department of Systems and Control Engineering, the department of Architecture and Urban Design and also the department of Statistics and Operations Research. In addition, VARCITIES has close ties with various stakeholders particularly the Gzira Local Council.
Article written by Dr Ing. Daniel Micallef - Department of Environmental Design (University of Malta)