You are on page 1of 5

Proceedings of FEDSM'01 2001 ASME Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting May 29-June 1, 2001, New Orleans, LA

FEDSM2001-18059
NUMERICAL SIMULATION OF UNSTEADY BUOYANT FLOWS IN BUILDINGS
F.F. Grinstein and J.P. Boris Laboratory for Computational Physics & Fluid Dynamics, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC 20375-5344

ABSTRACT Numerical simulations are used to investigate the buoyant dispersion of airborne pollutants in the LBNL Tinbox facility, a prototypical building which allows experimental runs under both mechanically- and buoyancy-driven flow conditions. The simulation model involves the numerical solution of the timedependent buoyant flow equations for mass and momentum conservation, a Monotonically Integrated LES approach for treating turbulence, and appropriate boundary conditions. Results from numerical simulations in typical laboratory regimes indicate that large-scale unsteadyness and geometry effects play a major role in the flow dynamics, and that buoyancy effects can be quite significant. INTRODUCTION The present work uses numerical simulations to investigate the buoyant dispersion of airborne pollutants in buildings. The work applies to reducing health risks e.g., in the event of an accidental pollutant release in an occupied space, as well as to improving energy efficiency and occupant comfort. Because of the short time spans and large air volumes involved, modeling a pollutant as well-mixed is not appropriate in such spaces. It is of considerable importance to capture the effects of unsteady, non-isothermal, buoyant flow conditions on the pollutant concentration distributions. Prototypical buildings can be used to identify the significant features, both physical and operational, affecting pollutant and heat dispersion in various classes of commercial buildings. The goal is to provide a framework for predicting pollutant transport and occupant exposure in buildings where only limited site-specific information is available. One such test chamber is the LBNL Tinbox facility (Figure 1) [1], which allows experimental runs under both mechanically- and buoyancy-driven flow conditions.

Properly designed numerical simulations can be used to predict the flow conditions as well as the associated behavior of pollutants. The numerical simulation models are validated with the laboratory experimental data. In turn, CFD results can be used to provide guidelines for measurements, to help design and interpret new experiments, and to extrapolate laboratory results to new room configurations. NOMENCLATURE r = mass density v = velocity S = viscous stress tensor P = pressure P = pressure in millibars g = acceleration due to gravity Q = potential temperature T = temperature To = temperature of reference state a h = thermal diffusivity h1 = residence-time tracer hi = pollutant tracers (i=2,) R = specific gas constant C p = specific heat at constant pressure NUMERICAL MODEL The relevant system of equations for the problem under consideration involves the time-dependent buoyant flow equations for mass and momentum conservation,
t (r) + div(vr ) = 0 t (rv) + div( rv v) = div(S) - grad(P) + f fx = fy = 0; fz = rg(1 - T / To ) 2 t (Q) + v grad(Q) = a h Q (h ) + v grad(h ) = 0, i = 1,K t i i

The flow equations must be supplemented with an equation of state, appropriate inflow, outflow, and wall boundary-condition models, and the potential temperature Q, and residence-time (h1) and pollutant concentration (hi , i2) tracers are treated as passive scalars. In the present work, the unfiltered unsteady equations are solved with an ideal-gas equation of state,
P = RrT .

The potential temperature Q is related to the fluid temperature T through (R / C ) , Q = T(1000 / P)


p

where P is the pressure in millibars (e.g., [2]). The potential temperature has the convenient property of being conserved during vertical movements of a gas parcel, provided heat is not added or removed during such excursions; in this way, the said parcel can be identified or labeled by its potential temperature. The unsteady equations above are solved numerically using a Monotonically Integrated LES (MILES) approach [3] to provide an implicit anisotropic subgrid-scale turbulence model [4,5]. Numerical simulations use the NRL FAST3D code [6], implementing direction-split convection, a 4th-order FluxCorrected Transport algorithm [7], a 2nd-order predictorcorrector integration, timestep splitting techniques, and Virtual Cell Embedding to handle the complex geometrical features of the Tinbox facility. The simulation code is designed to run efficiently on a wide range of platforms (e.g., SGI-O2K, MacG4). Computational grids involving between 425665 and 84112130 evenly spaced cells were used in the present simulations. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Most of the geometrical features and flow conditions of the LBNL Tinbox experiments are currently being modeled in the simulations, including characteristic inflow velocities at the supply vents of the order of 0.27 m/sec, yielding about four air-changes per hour at STP. The pollutant consisting of 4% methane in nitrogen, is being continuously released at z=0.6m above the floor from the 1m2 source region indicated in Figure 1. The laboratory conditions involve having all walls, floor and ceiling at the same uniform temperature, except for the East wall the short wall far from the supply inlet jets, which can be up to 2C hotter in typical daytime experiments due to the building orientation. The results from the numerical simulations indicate that large-scale unsteadyness and non-isothermal effects play a major role in the Tinbox flow dynamics, that the pollutant distributions are sensitive to source location, and that buoyancy effects are quite significant. The latter effects are illustrated in Figures 2-3, comparing results from simulations performed under nearly identical conditions: Run 3 had all wall boundaries at the same ambient temperature, while the others incorporated slightly higher temperature at the East wall (Run 2) or the floor (Run 1). The figures show that the quite different associated flow velocity patterns (Fig.2) can have dramatic

effects on the unsteady pollutant distributions (Fig.3), and suggests that a practical diagnostic for efficient air exchange might be based on tracing the fluid residence-time. Further details of the Tinbox flow dynamics are discussed in the presentation, and relevant issues of supergrid and subgrid modeling are addressed in this context. The results of this study raised the serious need to improve the control of the Tinbox conditions to ensure the repeatability of the experiments. This is crucial to generating a suitable laboratory database that can serve as reference to benchmark numerical simulation models. Improved control was recognized at least at two levels: on the wall boundary conditions (e.g., to enable accurate identification of nonisothermal effects), and in establishing the flow development stage (because of the inherent unsteadyness of the flow). Numerical simulations can be used as an effective tool to provide guidelines with this regard. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This work was sponsored in part by the Office of Naval Research through the Naval Research Laboratory and by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The authors thank E.Finlayson, M.L.Fischer, R.G. Sextro,and A.J. Gadgil, from the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of LBNL, for stimulating discussions and for providing helpful detailed information on the Tinbox facility and experiments. REFERENCES [1] M.L. Fischer, P.N. Price, T.L.,Thatcher, C.A.,Schwalbe, M.J. Craig, E.E. Wood, R.G. Sextro, A.J., Gadgil, "Rapid Measurements and Mapping of Tracer Gas Concentrations in a Large Indoor Space", LBNL Report 45542 (May 1, 2000). [2] S. Pal Arya, Introduction to Micrometeorology, Academic Press, 1988. [3] J.P. Boris, F.F. Grinstein, E.S. Oran, and R.J. Kolbe, New Insights into Large Eddy Simulation, Fluid Dynamics Research, 10, 199-228 (1992). [4] C. Fureby and F.F. Grinstein, Monotonically Integrated Large Eddy Simulation of Free Shear Flows, AIAA Journal, 37, 544-556 (1999). [5] C. Fureby and F.F. Grinstein, "Large Eddy Simulation of High Reynolds-Number Free & Wall-Bounded Flows", AIAA paper 2000-2307 (2000), Journal of Computational Physics (2002), in press. [6] A.M. Landsberg, T.R. Young, and J.P. Boris, "An Efficient Parallel Method for solving Flows in Complex Three-Dimensional Geometries", AIAA Paper 94-0413 (1994). [7] J.P. Boris and D.L. Book, "Flux-Corrected Transport 1. SHASTA, A Fluid Transport Algorithm that Works", Journal of Computational Physics, 11, 38-69 (1973).

Figure 1

Figure 2. Fixed intervals chosen to be correspondingly the same

Non-Isothermal Effects on Tracer distributions (tracers first released at t=0, z=0.6m after the first 5 air-changes in the room)
t=10 min t=15 min t=20 min t=25 min t=30 min

isothermal

residence time at z = 7 m

pollutant at z =2 m
Y East Wall X

residence time at z = 7 m

tracer concentration

pollutant at z =2 m

East Wall 2C warmer


residence time at z = 7 m

Floor 3C warmer
pollutant at z =2 m

Figure 3. Fixed intervals chosen to be correspondingly the same at same location as in the LBLN tinbox experiment

: cross-section of pollutant-tracer release surface (at z=0.6m)