Airflow Modelling Software, “The Next Step in Air Distribution Technology”

In collaboration with software manufacturer Solidworks Flow Simulation we have been developing our CFD expertise and technology to bring an exciting new dimension to air terminal device selection.

Based on the Computational Fluid Dynamics techniques the software, using a 3D CAD base, allows an engineer to generate a computer graphical model of any building or area complete with air terminal, or other, devices. The model can then be populated with sub structures, fixtures, fittings and any other heating/cooling loads enabling the software to accurately map and predict both the airflow and heat transfer behaviour in three dimensions.

With the models built, the software can then be run and the air movement results examined. Although the calculations are obviously important a further key bonus is that these wire frame constructions and the solved data can then used by the software to generate animated models which provide a realistic environment for us to view the results in. As well as being a good visualisation tool these models also provide engineers with added value features such as:

  1. Temperature/Velocity contour plots which can be moved through each axis within a model to show temperatures and velocities. Pinpoint readings can also be taken anywhere on these plots.
  2. Vector Plots. These can also be moved through each axis highlighting any troublesome areas. In the case shown above (a supermarket cold aisle) the vectors have highlighted air wiping over the lip of the cabinet, causing possible duty problems for the unit.
  3. Surface plots to terminal velocities. This function allows penetration into occupied, or other, zones to be highlighted at any desired velocity.
  4. Particle distribution video clips can be created in popular PC movie formats, which give us a clear visual indication of the air distribution patterns within the model.

Using this flow simulation software complex applications and ideas can now be proven without the need for laboratory testing. Even where testing may be necessary such as for modified or non standard diffusers, the air movement lab can be used to confirm the accuracy of the simulation and the software used for future applications, saving both time and cost.


These are times of increasing complexity with buildings being ever more differentiated or bespoke. The costs for services are at a premium and the space in which to fit them is at a minimum. Futureproofed systems are also often required that allow flexibility in subsequent building use, not to mention an increasing emphasis on environmental concerns and energy efficient design.

The need for the future engineer to be able to design an efficient, reliable and proven system both quickly and easily is clear. The future for CFD looks bright!

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