Fifty years of CFD for room air distribution

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94 Citations (Scopus)


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was first introduced in the ventilation industry in the 1970s. CFD has been increasingly used since then, as testified by the number of peer-reviewed articles, which was less than 10 per year in the 1990s, and which is now 60 to 70 per year.

This article discusses the principle behind CFD, the development in numerical schemes, turbulence models and the importance of the increased computer size since the 1970s.

Special attention is given to the selection of the correct governing equations, to the understanding of low turbulent flow, to the selection of turbulence models, and to addressing situations with more steady-state solutions.

The article finishes with a number of different case studies such as design of air supply openings, smoke management in buildings, cross-infection risks from the exhalation of particles and calculation of people moving in a room. The use of benchmark tests is also addressed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding and Environment
Issue numberSeptember
Pages (from-to)78–90
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Air and contaminant flow
  • Numerical methods
  • Governing equations
  • Turbulence models

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