Computational Fluid Dynamics


Since 2002, CEA has served the building design industry by provided CFD analysis services to various clients, providing the highest level of design verification, and optimization of applied HVAC mechanical design. Below, is a small sampling of the successful projects and clients that CEA has served,

  • Utah Museum of Natural History – Exhibit Design
  • Southern Utah University Museum of Art – Exhibit Design
  • University of Utah Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute – Data Center Design
  • Utah National Guard EROB – Data Center Design
  • Hillside Middle School (SLC, UT) – HVAC Design Application
  • Nu Skin Enterprises Headquarters – HVAC Design Application
  • Kraft Foods – Food (Cheese) Process Design
  • Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control – Beverage Storage Design
  • City Creek Complex (SLC, UT) Underground Parking – Structural Expansion Analysis
  • City Creek Complex (SLC, UT) Underground Parking – Pollution Control Design
  • Tamarack Village Resort (Tamarack, ID) – Floor Slab Temperature Code Compliance

Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analysis is the HVAC industry’s most comprehensive simulation tool for design verification, and evaluating thermal comfort. CFD simulations include details of air movement, building construction, interior and exterior boundary conditions, internal source objects, as well as changes in air composition (i.e. relative humidity or air bourn contaminants, such as carbon monoxide or benzene.) This level of detail allows for analysis beyond human thermal comfort, and enables evaluation of whole building comfort and performance. Unlike tools for evaluating the energy performance of buildings, CFD calculates all fluid properties for thousands, or even millions, of points in the simulated space. This allows for observation of thermal stratification, age of air in a particular location, and possible localized regions where air velocity or temperature may impact requirements of thermal performance.

CFD analysis has the potential to provide essential information to engineers, designers, and architects, for a myriad of applications related to the built environment and HVAC design industries. CFD analysis often results in project cost savings, through optimization of building and mechanical design, which provides results that allow for smaller HVAC equipment sizes, better control schemes, and elimination of unnecessary design components. Furthermore, the reduced cost, and design verification afforded by CFD, usually contributes toward reduced change orders, improved owner/client satisfaction, and reduces the potential for damages that could arise from any litigation. Below, are some examples of how CFD analysis can be applied to the built environment design process.

  • Applied HVAC Verification – An ever increasing number of projects are seeking to reduce building energy consumption and demand. As such, more modern and progressive HVAC systems are being applied, particularly to commercial buildings. CFD analysis can be used to verify the application of a particular HVAC scheme to a specific space or building type, to verify that industry standards of thermal comfort can be maintained, while providing the energy savings expected.
  • Data Centers – Use CFD to assess the effectiveness of supply air temperature, optimize hot-cold aisle design, assess under-floor air distribution, and evaluate the effect of air or water-side economization. CFD is particularly useful to data center design, due to the relatively high costs of HVAC cooling, and the potential cost that can arise from equipment that is damaged or lost , due to poor designs.
  • Museums & Exhibits – Temperature and humidity control of exhibit spaces is crucial to artifact preservation. CFD can be used to verify design schemes, and eliminate spaces that might otherwise be out of the required environmental conditions, due to effects such as thermal stratification.
  • Parking Garages – CFD can be used to assess parking garage ventilation, ensuring that pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, are below allowable limits of exposure, and identify areas that can be re-circulated, rather than directly exhausted.
  • Laboratories & Cleanrooms – Understanding of the airflow patterns and air bourn contaminants in labs and cleanrooms is essential to providing safe working and study environments. CFD can be used to evaluate the potential effects of fume hood sash positions & exhaust valve design. Short-circuiting of supply air, which may induce harmful contaminants into the breathing zone, or introduce dust particles into a manufacturing process can also be understood, and eliminated.
  • Food & Beverage Process & Storage – For companies that serve the food and beverage industry, product loss or damage can have the most significant impact on profitability. CFD can be used to evaluate food and beverage processes and storage, to ensure that product shrinkage is minimized, process and curing conditions are consistent, and product freshness is maintained prior to market.
  • Code Compliance – As an example, floor slabs that are over unconditioned parking garages, must be maintained at a specified temperature, to satisfy code certain requirements. CFD can be used to determine if a design meets this criteria, and/or evaluate what must be included in the design to ensure the slab temperature, through use of insulation, heat tracing, or other strategy.

If you would like more information on how energy modeling can be used to add value to your next project, or you know you are in need energy engineering/modeling services, and would like more information regarding pricing and scheduling, please take a few minutes to write an inquiry below. You can ask general questions, or if you have a specific need, please include a description of the project and your contact information, and CEA will respond to you in a timely manner.

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Colvin Engineering  /  Computational Fluid Dynamics