Single-span plastic greenhouses and solar greenhouses are frequently employed in protected horticulture in developing countries due to their simplicity and low cost. In China, the area of single-span plastic greenhouse and solar greenhouse is 4,050,000 ha, which accounts for 90% of the total area of horticultural facilities in China. Wind damage is one of the predominant types of meteorological damage to horticultural facilities. Because the structures of single-span plastic greenhouses and solar greenhouses are simple, they are more vulnerable to wind actions than the structures of modern greenhouses. Studies of wind pressure distribution on the surfaces of plastic greenhouses and solar greenhouses help to determine the minimum critical wind speed for damage to facilities and provide the scientific basis for wind damage prevention and practical greenhouse designs.
The wind tunnel test, which is an advanced technique employed in the study of wind pressure distribution on the surface of a building (Gloria et al., 2005; Zhang and Gu, 2006), is widely used in the structural design of agricultural facilities (Huang, 1991; Robertson et al., 1985). Hoxey and Richardson (1984) discussed the wind loads on full-scale film plastic-clad greenhouses. Richardson (1993) measured the wind load on a single-span film plastic-clad livestock building. Wang et al. (2008) analyzed the wind pressure distribution on a multispan plastic greenhouse, the results indicated that the wind pressure coefficients of open ventilators were distinctly bigger than the coefficients of closed ventilators, and the wind pressure distribution of greenhouse with canopy was more complicated than that of noncanopy greenhouse. Xie and Chen (2000) investigated the effects of eaves, skylights, and visor curtains on wind pressure distributions on single-span plastic greenhouses. Moriyama et al. (2008) found that the external pressure coefficient distribution was unaffected by the openings of side gable, while the internal pressure coefficients were significantly influenced by the openings of side gable. As more than two pipe-framed greenhouses were often arranged in parallel, and the wind pressure distributions on the pipe houses were significantly affected by the distance between them, Moriyama et al. (2010) investigated the interaction of two or three side-by-side pipe houses on wind pressure coefficients. To date, a detailed report on wind loads on single-span plastic greenhouses and solar greenhouses in China has not been published. In this paper, the wind pressure distribution on the surfaces of typical types of single-span plastic greenhouses and solar greenhouses was studied, and the critical wind speeds for various zones on the surfaces of facilities were calculated. The results were expected to provide a scientific basis for the optimal design of agricultural facilities and the prevention of windstorm damage.
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