Experimental studies of a pulse pressurisation technique for measuring building airtightness

Xiaofeng Zheng, Edward Cooper, Yingqing Zu, Mark Gillott, David Tetlow, Saffa Riffat, Christopher Wood

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A pulse pressurisation technique is developed and utilised for determining building leakage at low pressure, based on a “quasi-steady pulse” concept. The underlying principle of the technique is to subject the building envelope to a known volume change in a short period of time (typically 1.5 s). The resulting pressure pulse is recorded, from which the leakage characteristic at low pressure is determined. The technique minimizes the effects of wind and buoyancy forces and has proven to be repeatable. It can use a compact and portable test rig and does not need to penetrate the building envelope. Therefore, it can obtain the leakage of a building very quickly and efficiently. Throughout the various stages of research and development of the pulse technique, experimental investigations have been carried out under different configurations and scenarios in order to validate the changes that have been made for the purpose of system development and optimisation. This paper provides an overview of experimental investigations in the validation process by covering comparison between blower door and pulse unit, comparison between piston-based pulse unit and nozzle-based pulse unit, testing with multiple pulse units in a large building, testing with a known opening, and testing in different building types with a range of volumes and airtightness levels. It enables us to understand the strengths and the limits of the pulse technique, from the experimental and practical perspectives. A good repeatability level (within ±5%) has been maintained throughout the various developmental stages and the average value of Q50/Q4 reported herein was in close agreement (<1%) with that reported in a study based on a large database obtained across a number of countries. It was also proven feasible to measure the airtightness of large buildings using the pulse technique.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
JournalFuture Cities and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Blower door
  • Building airtightness
  • Experimental validation
  • Pulse technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Architecture
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental studies of a pulse pressurisation technique for measuring building airtightness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this