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CFD Simulation: Validating SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation with Ventilation Efficiency

Wednesday August 23, 2023 at 8:00am

SOLIDWORKS Simulation can be used to calculate a wide range of studies using real-world physics in a virtual environment.

In this series, we’re looking at three simulation applications: fluid dynamics, linear analysis, and electronic cooling. We’ll validate the results of these studies to show you how accurate virtual testing with SOLIDWORKS can be.

Starting with SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis, we’ll investigate the efficiency of ventilation in a room by using the Local Mean Age (LMA) parameter to calculate the time taken for air to pass through a room.

We’ll compare the results againsta test rig by Bartak et al to comment on the accuracy of the solution.

LMA is important when considering ventilation efficiency and removal of contaminants from an environment - lower values indicate better ventilation.

The cavity space analysed by Barktak et al is represented using this model.

An additional channel of length of 1.92 m was applied on the inlet and outlet to allow the fluid velocity to profile to develop in the analysis.


Default initial conditions were assumed (ambient air pressure and temperature), and gravity was also applied.

A fine mesh was applied over the full domain to provide a good resolution from floor to ceiling, where the results will be collected.

One cycle of adaptive meshing was also applied after about 4 travels during the analysis to provide an improved resolution over the higher velocity regions.

The resulting mesh is shown below and contains approx. 4.4 million cells. This is much finer than the numerical study used by Bartak et al. (24,300).

In total, the study was permitted to run for almost 10 travels. This was to allow for the slower converging parameters to settle (e.g. in the dead spots towards the corners of the room and regions closer to the floor and ceiling).

Results were taken along 3 vertical lines extending from floor to ceiling and running down the centre of the room and compared against the practical test by Bartak et al.

The Results

LMA results provided by Bartak et al. were divided through by 538 to provide a dimensionless LMA. This has been carried out here too for comparative purposes.





2D cut plot with streamlines showing the LMA.
2D cut plot with streamlines showing velocity.
ISO surface plot showing velocity.
Flow trajectory showing velocity
Flow trajectory showing velocity.

The results from the study in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation showed very good correlation when comparing the dimensionless LMA values against the test rig results. The largest difference was 6.7% which is very similar to the repeatability of the method used to collect the data from the test rig (6.5%).

This is a great result!

Generally, this type of validation gives good confidence that virtual testing can be used as a reliable tool to show how parts will perform in the real world.

Adding the power of SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation to your design portfolio means having the ability to try out many “what if” scenarios that would simply take too long, or be too costly, by other methods.

To find out more, visit our SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation page, or get in touch to see how SOLIDWORKS can help improve the products you design and manufacture.

Take the Next Steps...

If you need help with SOLIDWORKS Simulation, our team can help you achieve accurate results and sharpen your skills.

Here’s a quick rundown of how we can help you get the best from SOLIDWORKS Simulation and virtual testing with our Simulation services.

Not only do we offer CPD-accredited training courses, but also finger-tip access to an expert Technical Support team and consultants who will tailor to your needs.

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