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Computational Fluid Dynamics in HVAC

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

One of the most useful design analysis tools now being used in the HVAC industry is something called "CFD". "CFD" stands for "Computational Fluid Dynamics" and it provides insights into potential building performance that no other analysis tool can provide. While CFD software has been in the marketplace for over 20 years it is still fairly rare in the HVAC environment. CFD was originally used in the aerospace and fluid process industries. It is now the number one analysis tool used in Formula One and automotive design in general. CFD is also now widely used in the data center design community.

The reason that CFD is so widely used in those high technology industries is that CFD allows the designer to "see" air in a space...it's temperature, it's direction, it's velocity, and even it's density and moisture content in some cases. Mestex has been using CFD for years to help engineers and building designers understand the best product for their building and the best place to locate that product.

By creating a 3D model of a building and it's contents, and then adding a model of the proposed cooling or heating product, the CFD user can evaluate just how well the proposed system will satisfy the design requirements. More sophisticated versions of CFD software, such as the software used by Mestex, can actually help the designer optimize his application by letting the computer modify the equipment location and operating conditions to get a result that is as close to the design target as possible.
CFD studies can be very complicated, and might take several days to complete, but the end result is so valuable that it is worth the time. Mestex recently completed a study for a pharmaceutical company that assured the company that their multi-million dollar inventory would be kept at the proper temperature anywhere in their warehouse. No other analysis tool can provide that type of owner security.