Author's School

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Author's Department/Program

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science


English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair and Committee

Ramesh Agarwal


In recent years Computational Fluid Dynamics: CFD) simulations are increasingly used to model the air circulation and temperature environment inside the rooms of residential and office buildings to gain insight into the relative energy consumptions of various HVAC systems for cooling/heating for climate control and thermal comfort. This requires accurate simulation of turbulent flow and heat transfer for various types of ventilation systems using the Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes: RANS) equations of fluid dynamics. Large Eddy Simulation: LES) or Direct Numerical Simulation: DNS) of Navier-Stokes equations is computationally intensive and expensive for simulations of this kind. As a result, vast majority of CFD simulations employ RANS equations in conjunction with a turbulence model. In order to assess the modeling requirements: mesh, numerical algorithm, turbulence model etc.) for accurate simulations, it is critical to validate the calculations against the experimental data. For this purpose, we use three well known benchmark validation cases, one for natural convection in 2-D closed vertical cavity, second for forced convection in a 2-D rectangular cavity and the third for mixed convection in a 2-D square cavity. The simulations are performed on a number of meshes of different density using a number of turbulence models. It is found that k-ε two-equation turbulence model with a second-order algorithm on a reasonable mesh gives the best results. This information is then used to determine the modeling requirements: mesh, numerical algorithm, turbulence model etc.) for flows in 3D enclosures with different ventilation systems. In particular two cases are considered for which the experimental data is available. These cases are: 1) air flow and heat transfer in a naturally ventilated room and: 2) airflow and temperature distribution in an atrium. Good agreement with the experimental data and computations of other investigators is obtained.


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