Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Experimental Studies of a Pulse Pressurisation Technique for Measuring Building Airtightness

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


Xiaofeng Zheng

Yingqing Zu

Edward Cooper

Professor of Sustainable Building Design

David Tetlow

Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems


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.


Zheng, X., Zu, Y., Cooper, E., Gillott, M., Tetlow, D., Riffat, S., & Wood, C. (2019). Experimental Studies of a Pulse Pressurisation Technique for Measuring Building Airtightness. Future Cities and Environment, 5(1), 1-17.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 22, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 26, 2019
Publication Date Jun 26, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 11, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 11, 2019
Journal Future Cities and Environment
Electronic ISSN 2363-9075
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 1
Pages 1-17
Keywords Building airtightness, Blower door, Pulse technique, Experimental validation
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations