Purdue University Graduate School
2021.4.27 Y. Zhao.pdf (2.11 MB)

A Comparison of Air Flow Simulation Techniques in Architectural Design

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posted on 2021-05-06, 14:21 authored by Yuanpei ZhaoYuanpei Zhao

The fluid simulation in computer generates realistic animations of fluids by solving Navier-Stokes equation. The methods of simulation are divided into two types. The grid-based methods and particle-based methods. The former one is wildly used for scientific computation because of its precision of simulation while the latter one is used in visual effects, games and other areas requiring real-time simulation because of the less computation time it has.

The indoor airflow simulations with HVAC system in construction design is one specific application in scientific computation and uses grid-based simulation as the general-purpose simulation does. This study addresses the problem that this kind of airflow simulations in construction design using grid-based methods are very time consuming and always need designers to do pretreatment of the building model, which takes time, money, and effort. On the other hand, the particle-based methods would have less computation time with an acceptable accuracy in indoor airflow simulations because this kind of simulation does not require very high precision.

Then this study conducts a detailed and practical comparison of different fluid simulation algorithms in both grid-based methods and particle-based ones. This study's deliverable is a comparison between particle-based and grid-based methods in indoor airflow simulations with HVAC system.

The overall methodology used to arrive at the deliverables of this study will need two parts of work. The benchmark data is gathered from a CFD software simulation using FVM with a decent grid resolution. The particle-based data will be generated by simulation algorithms over the same set of room and furniture models implemented by OpenGL and CUDA. After the benchmark FVM simulation being conducted in a CFD software, the temperature field of airflow will be measured. After simulation, the temperature field are gained on each one of 4 particle-based simulation. A comparison standard is set and data will be analyzed to get the conclusion. The result shows that in a short simulation time period, after finding a proper number of particles, the particle-based method will achieve acceptable accuracy of temperature and velocity field while using much less time.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Computer Graphics Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Hazar Dib

Additional Committee Member 2

Tim McGraw

Additional Committee Member 3

Yingjie Chen

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