Testing Aerial Ladders in FEA: Wind Load Standard Equation vs CFD Wind Tunnel Analysis

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To design and build an aerial ladder for a firetruck, the engineer needs to accurately determine the working loads the ladder will encounter. Some of these can be easy to interpret such as the weight of the firefighter in the basket at the end of the ladder, or the weight of the water being supplied to the nozzle. Other loads can be a little harder to quantify, such as how wind affects the ladder. There are several different ways to determine this effect, and two of those will be explored in this paper: the standard equation (ASCE 7-10), and CFD.
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