Simulating airflow in an urban environment

​In a project in the Building Futures Area of Advance, researchers at Fraunhofer-Chalmers Research Centre for Industrial Mathematics (FCC), Mathematical Sciences, Construction and Environmental Technology and NCC have jointly developed new methods for simulating airflow in urban environments. Fredrik Edelvik and Simon Ingelsten, vice director and development engineer at FCC, tell more.
How can simulating airflow create a better city environment?
When planning and designing buildings and urban environments, simulating airflow is an important tool for studying how the city’s layout might affect expected temperatures, among other things. Other areas of use include modelling the spread of air pollution and predicting wind load on buildings. The local climate around a building in an urban environment can differ significantly from the more general weather data often used in computation, and local wind and temperature conditions affect the need for heating and cooling. As energy requirements for buildings get stricter, the need to make accurate predictions increases. One major limitation of existing simulations is that they use extremely simplified geometric descriptions of the urban environment, which results in poor computational precision.

What new technology are you developing in the project?
We use modern scanning technology to create an almost exact virtual copy of the urban environment. The project has involved adapting software for computational fluid dynamics so that it can be used in this virtual copy, in which the geometry is described as a large point cloud providing input data for simulations of things like airflow and local temperatures. To illustrate the technology, we conducted a case study on a scanned model of the Chalmers Johanneberg Campus. The results showed that the method is fast and robust, and that it would improve precision in the modelling done today.
Watch a video about the project here
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Page manager Published: Thu 24 May 2018.