CFD analysis of airflow patterns and heat transfer in small, medium, and large structures

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Virginia Tech


Designing buildings to use energy more efficiently can lead to lower energy costs, while maintaining comfort for occupants. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can be utilized to visualize and simulate expected flows in buildings and structures. CFD gives architects and designers the ability to calculate the velocity, pressure, and heat transfer within a building. Previous research has not modeled natural ventilation situations that challenge common design rules of thumb used for cross-ventilation and single-sided ventilation. The current study uses a commercial code (FLUENT) to simulate cross-ventilation in simple structures and analyzes the flow patterns and heat transfer in the rooms. In the Casa Giuliana apartment and the Affleck house, this study simulates passive cooling in spaces well-designed for natural ventilation. Heat loads, human models, and electronics are included in the apartment to expand on prior research into natural ventilation in a full-scale building. Two different cases were simulated. The first had a volume flow rate similar to the ambient conditions, while the second had a much lower flow rate that had an ACH of 5, near the minimum recommended value Passive cooling in the Affleck house is simulated and has an unorthodox ventilation method; a window in the floor that opens to an exterior basement is opened along with windows and doors of the main floor to create a pressure difference. In the Affleck house, two different combinations of window and door openings are simulated to model different scenarios. Temperature contours, flow patterns, and the air changes per hour (ACH) are explored to analyze the ventilation of these structures.



Computational fluid dynamics, Natural Ventilation, Natural Convection, Architecture