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International Journal of Ventilation ISSN 1473-3315 Volume 6 No 3


Book Review
Computational Fluid Dynamics in Ventilation Design
REHVA Guidebook No 10
Peter V Nielsen (editor), Francis Allard, Hazim B Awbi, Lars Davidson and Alois Schälin

Publisher REHVA: Federation of European Heating and Air-Conditioning Associations, ISBN 2-9600468-9-7

Computational Fluid Dynamics in Ventilation CFD and also with measurements in rooms for
Design is a new title in the REHVA guidebook validating the predictions.
series. This guidebook is written for people who
need to use and discuss results based on CFD The turbulence model is a particularly important
predictions, and it gives insight into the subject for aspect of CFD. It is obvious that room airflow will
those who are not used to working with CFD. It is be turbulent because of geometry and practical
also written for users working with CFD who have velocity levels, but it will not always be a fully
to be more aware of how this numerical method is developed turbulent flow. Some of the widely used
applied in the area of ventilation. The guidebook models are discussed such as the k-ε model, the SST
has, for example, chapters that are very important model and the Reynolds Stress model. The Large
for CFD quality control in general and for the Eddy simulation is also briefly mentioned.
quality control of ventilation related problems in
particular. The chapter on Numerical method illustrates the
structure of a CFD program and it demonstrates
A large number of CFD predictions are made much of the experience a user will have in using a
nowadays and it is often difficult to judge the commercial program. Most of this chapter is based on
quality level of these predictions. The guidebook one-dimensional theory. The use of one-dimensional
introduces rules for good quality prediction work. It analysis makes it possible to understand, by hand
is the purpose of the guidebook to improve the calculation, many concepts and issues such as order
technical level of CFD work in ventilation. of accuracy, necessary number of grid points,
oscillations in the solution, iterations, divergence, etc.
The book contains the following main chapters: This is demonstrated with a convection-diffusion
equation which is solved with the use of different
• Mathematical background schemes at different velocity levels.
• Turbulence models
• Numerical methods The chapter on Boundary conditions is especially
• Boundary conditions important in the ventilation area. Often the flow in a
• Quality control room is determined by small details in the diffuser
• CFD combined with other prediction models design. This means that a numerical prediction
• Application of CFD codes in building design method should be able to handle small details in
• Case studies dimensions of one or two millimetres, as well as
• Benchmark tests dimensions of several metres. This wide range of the
geometry necessitates a large number of cells in the
The chapters Mathematical background and numerical scheme, which increases the prediction
Turbulence models give a short introduction to the cost and computing time to a rather high level. The
theory behind the methods used in CFD modelling. problem is overcome by applying different
The fundamental transport equations are discussed simplifications such as simplified boundary
with emphasis on ventilation applications. conditions, box method, prescribed velocity method
Descriptions are given for two-dimensional or momentum method. Continuous development of
geometry to simplify the concepts. A user of CFD computational capacity and speed will undoubtedly
predictions must have some knowledge of fluid make the direct methods with local grid refinements
mechanics. It is important to understand conditions or multigrid solution possible. This is illustrated in
such as laminar flow, turbulent flow, steady flow, Figure 1 in which a diffuser consists of 12 small slots
time dependent flow etc. both in connection with which can be adjusted to different flow directions.



Figure 1. A direct simulation of a diffuser consisting of 12 small slots which can be adjusted to different flow
directions. Development of computer capacity will make direct simulations of diffusers possible in the future.

This chapter also discusses other boundary There is a strong reduction in computing cost by
conditions such as the surface boundary which is working with two-dimensional flow instead of
important for heat transfer predictions, free three-dimensional flow but is it possible in all
boundary, plane of symmetry, air exit opening and situations where the boundary conditions are “two-
obstacle boundary. dimensional”? Figure 2 shows a long hall with a
shed roof. There are complaints about strong
The chapter on Quality Control is one of the more downdraught, but a two-dimensional prediction is
important chapters in this guidebook. Quality not able to show this effect. It is necessary to use a
control consists of four major steps: to recognize three-dimensional transient approach to predict the
possible error sources, to check for them in the downdraught.
simulation, to estimate the accuracy of the
simulations, and to improve the simulation For each set of problems a grid independence study
whenever possible. Two of the many examples should be performed. Figure 3 shows an example of
given in the guidebook are shown here. such a study, where the same case (a transient fire

Figure 2. Hall with shed roof, two-dimensional prediction and transient three-dimensional prediction.


International Journal of Ventilation ISSN 1473-3315 Volume 6 No 3

Figure 3. Simulation of a transient fire with 50,000 and 200,000 cells in the solution domain.

simulation) is run for various grids from coarse to Application of CFD codes in building design. A
fine, and with homogeneous grids and other grids number of areas such as: room air movement,
with mixtures of prisms, tetra- and hexahedral cells. concentration distribution, emission from materials,
The latter performs best. Figure 3 shows the thermal comfort assessment, ventilation
temperature distribution for 50,000 cells and 20,000 effectiveness prediction and smoke management can
cells. be evaluated by a CFD program from the conceptual
design to the preliminary design and right through to
The use of a CFD program in connection with other the final detail design stages.
programs is discussed in the chapter CFD combined
with other prediction models. Of highest interest and The chapter, Case studies, shows different practical
importance to ventilation design are the following: applications of predictions made at different stages
coupling of airflow and multi-zone dynamic thermal in the initial design, detail design and
simulation where, especially, energy storage is an commissioning phases. In particular, four different
important issue; coupling of airflow, moisture and air distribution systems are studied by CFD and
energy transport through walls; coupling of airflow compared to measurements. The four systems are
and multi-zone flow simulation, where the zonal mixing ventilation with a wall-mounted diffuser,
flow simulation also handles the transport of vertical ventilation, displacement ventilation, and
additional components such as contaminants (e.g. mixing ventilation generated by a ceiling mounted
smoke, CO2, odours, moisture); and, lastly, coupling radial diffuser. All systems are designed to handle
of the airflow and emission from building materials. the same load in the same room. Figure 4 shows the
results for vertical ventilation.
The possibilities of applying CFD for simulating
airflow in a building are discussed in the chapter The final chapter is a small chapter discussing
different types of benchmark tests. A benchmark
test can be used for new beginners in CFD to obtain
a fast insight into different problems for the
prediction of ventilation and to obtain an initial
experience by comparing CFD outputs.

REHVA - the Federation of European Heating and

Air-Conditioning Associations represents more than
110000 building engineers in 29 European
countries. REHVA Guidebooks are appreciated for
their solid scientific quality and are also easily
understood by practitioners. All REHVA
Guidebooks can be ordered online on
Figure 4. Velocity distribution in the centre plane of an
office room ventilated by a ceiling mounted textile
terminal giving vertical ventilation. Peter V. Nielsen



International Journal of Ventilation - Notes to Authors

The International Journal of Ventilation aims to accept and • Conclusions: This should summarise the essential results
publish papers of the highest quality. Papers submitted to the and benefits of the work. This Section should be in the
journal should fulfil one or more of the following categories: region of 200 to 300 words in length.
• Introduce a novel idea concerned with the development or
application of ventilation; • References: Within the body of the text references should
be made by first author (et al) and date, e.g. (Waters et al
• Present a validated case study demonstrating the
1999). In the reference section, references should be
performance of a ventilation strategy;
presented in alphabetical order in the following format:
• Studies on ventilation needs and solutions for specific
Waters JR, Simons MW and Grazebrook J. (1999) “Air
building types including: offices, dwellings, schools,
distribution and air quality in a large open space”, Building
hospitals, parking garages, urban buildings and recreational
Serv. Eng Res Technol. 20 pp195 – 200.
• Numerical methods for application in design;
• Acknowledgements (Optional): To be included, as
• Practical measurement techniques; necessary, to acknowledge funders and co-workers etc.
• Related issues in which the impact of ventilation plays an
important role (e.g. the interaction of ventilation with indoor • Appendix (Optional): An appendix may be included,
air quality, health and comfort); especially to outline a complex numerical procedure that
• Energy issues related to ventilation (e.g. low energy systems, may be of value to researchers but would upset the flow of
ventilation heating and cooling loss); the paper.
• Driving forces (weather data, fan performance etc).
• Figures: These should be referenced in the text as Figure 1,
Submission Details Figure 2 etc; Figures must be presented, in the size in which
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