CFD simulations are common tools in building design and architecture. CFD analysis complements wind tunnel analysis to evaluate the level of loading on high rise building and the impact of buildings on urban flows. In addition, CFD modelling is used to study internal flows in offices and public buildings with the intent to improve users comfort and increase the thermal performance of a building.

Urban flow assessment

CFD simulations of external flows are used to evaluate the effect of new developments and buildings on urban flows and assess the impact on pedestrian comfort. This type of analysis requires to quickly analyse multiple wind speeds and directions to fully characterise the design.

cfd simulation of buildings with the resulting pressure distribution

Pressure distribution around buildings and wake interactions

cfd simulation of urban flow showing the wind around buildings

Local wind patterns between buildings 4 metres above ground level

SimWorks allows to define the CFD simulation parameters directly in its GUI and re-apply those settings in multiple subsequent simulations. This helps to quickly run through multiple wind speeds and directions as well as easily iterating through multiple designs and buildings layouts.

Architecture CFD calculation of wind load

An important role of the CFD simulation is to assess the overall wind load affecting buildings in the most extreme conditions or for different wind speeds and wind direction. Also due to the presence of multiple buildings in a block the flow can locally accelerate producing localised wind gusts at the pedestrian level, this has to calculated already in the design phase and CFD is an invaluable tool to help with this analysis.

wind load calculation on buildings using simworks

Aerodynamic wake behind a block of buildings – SimWorks 

wind loads on buildings

Coefficient of pressure distribution on the buildings surfaces – SimWorks

Our free CFD software SimWorks offers the capability of quickly simulating the flow around buildings see an application example of the wind load calculation on a block of building. Also for further details refer to this dedicated article on how to calculate wind load.

Internal flow simulation

CFD analysis of internal flows can be used to size the cooling systems (see for reference the section HVAC section) and evaluate and optimise buildings natural ventilation. 

To optimise air cooling systems it is necessary to quickly check the effect of positioning air inlets and exits. To get reliable results air temperature, humidity and the flow buoyancy have to be included in the CFD model. SimWorks includes specific solutions for this type of analysis.

 Simulations  help understanding the natural ventilation within a building and ultimately improve its energy efficiency to comply with the ever stricter building requirements. SimWorks provides advanced CFD tools designed for natural ventilation and simplifies simulating multiple conditions. Once the first simulation has been set up, a full characterisation of different ambient conditions can be evaluated quickly and automatically scanning through different ambient temperatures, solar radiation values and different heating and cooling devices to assess the building performance across its entire lifespan.


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