Dynamic thermal modelling using CFD
Buildings expend vast quantities of energy, which has a detrimental impact on the environment. Buildings systems are often oversized to cope with possible extreme environmental conditions. Building simulation provides an opportunity to improve building thermal design, but the available tools are typically used in combination in order to overcome their individual deficiencies. Two such tools, often used in tandem are computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and dynamic thermal modelling (DTM). DTM provides a coarse analysis, by considering external and internal thermal conditions over a building (including its fabric) over time. CFD is usually used to provide steady state analysis. Boundary conditions typically in the form of surface temperatures are manually input from DTM into CFD. CFD can model buildings dynamically, but is not commonly used, since solving for hugely different time constants of solid and air pose significant limitations, due to data generated and time consumed. A technique is developed in this study to tackle these limitations. There are two main strands to the research. DTM techniques had to be incorporated into CFD, starting from first principles of modelling heat transfer through solid materials. These were developed into employing the use of functions such as the 'freeze flow' function (FEF) and the 'boundary freeze' function (BFF) in combination with a time-varying grid schedule to model solids and air simultaneously. The FFF pauses the solution of all governing equations of fluid flow, except temperature. The BFF can be applied to solid boundaries to lock their temperatures whilst all other equations are solved. After extensive research the established DTM-CFD Procedure eventually used the FEF and BFF with transient periods and steady state updates, respectively. The second strand of research involved the application of the DTM-CFD Procedure to a typical office space over a period of 24-hours. Through inter-model comparisons with a fully transient simulation, the DTM-CFD Procedure proved to be capable of providing dynamic thermal simulations 16.4% more efficiently than a typical CFD code and more accurately than a typical DTM code. Additional research is recommended for the further improvement of the DTM-CFD Procedure.