Today, construction industry has to respond to a wide range of new challenges: saving energy, lowering cost, safety and occupant comfort improvement are three of the most important ones. In this context there is a natural demand for innovation, and CFD plays a major role in the game: designers can use virtual simulation to evaluate the impact of their design decisions, that range from location selection to shape details to materials and temperature management aspects.
To optimize design before the construction phase starts is the best way to save time and cost. CFD simulations allow to design HVAC equipment and its layout definition, to devise smoke management and evacuation systems to protect building occupants and structures from disaster, to model airflow for occupant comfort and to analyze environmental–structural coupling effects.
Civil Engineering is moving towards virtual prototyping at a fast pace. In this context, Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) offers the possibility to design efficient structures and modify them in order to solve malfunctions or improve safety. And it is the cheapest, faster and safer way to do it.
The use of numerical simulation in Civil Engineering has not been so common as it is in other industries. Recently, with the availability of modern easy-to-use computational tools and cheaper hardware, it is becoming increasingly prevalent in this field. Most of the buildings are subject to interaction with fluids (water, air, etc), influencing the design in a lot of aspects, as structural, environmental or hydraulic. Numerical simulation leads to optimized designs through the understanding of fluid effects on the structure and making it safer, troubleshooting problems and identifying critical zones.
Common application areas of numerical simulation in Civil Engineering are:
- Buildings aerodynamics
- Occupant/pedestrian comfort
- Dams, open channels, weirs, spillways design
- Scour/deposition modeling
- Fire/smoke/gas dispersion
- Materials handling