(15 May 2007) -- Flomerics has released Version 7 of its Flovent computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software for simulating heating and cooling in buildings. Flovent V7 features a new Response Surface Optimization capability that Flomerics believes is unrivalled in CFD analysis software. Earlier versions of Flovent included a sequential optimization capability allowing users to specify combinations of design parameters and iterate sequentially towards the best design. The new Response Surface Optimization goes further by fitting a 3D surface to the entire design space, enabling engineers to visualize the complete interaction of the design parameters with the design goal as well as identifying the optimum to a greater degree of accuracy.
The user begins Flovent’s optimization process by defining design goals in the form of a “cost function”, and the ranges over which key design parameters may be varied. The cost function may be a single, simple value such as the temperature at a particular point, or a complex linear combination of values including weighting. Flovent automatically creates and runs the required number of simulations to explore the entire design space in the most cost-effective way.
Flovent’s new optimization module then generates a “response surface” showing the value of the design goals for all the combinations of variables that were run. The response surface can be viewed through either a 2D or 3D chart window making it easy to visualize the sensitivity of the cost function to changes in particular design parameters. The optimum value of the cost function is automatically identified and saved as a new project file.
The ability to visualize the entire design envelope and the response surface improves design insight and intuition, improves communication with colleagues and customers, and enables instant determination of which design parameters are crucial and which have little effect. This in turn minimizes costs by ensuring money is not spent on the wrong aspects of the heating/cooling and ventilation system. Common real-world applications of the process include: optimizing the placement of air handling equipment such as diffusers and louvers; optimizing cooling in data centers and IT rooms; optimizing glazing or building fabric, etc.
Flovent V7 includes a new SmartPart model that makes it possible to model the performance of computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units accurately without modeling their detailed internal structure. The CRAC unit is defined by entering a few parameters such as total available cooling power and desired supply temperature. This makes it possible quickly to determine the effect of using different numbers of CRAC units in different locations to cool a data center.
Flovent V7 also includes the ability to import 2D DXF files and extrude them directly into 3D shapes. This capability is particular designed for bringing floor plan data in from architectural CAD systems. The new release also includes the ability to model transient variations of ambient temperature and solar radiation. This feature is important because the amount of heat lost by a building through radiation can vary greatly depending upon whether it is radiating to a cold source, such as the night sky, or a warmer source, such as a nearby building. The new Visual Editor post-processing window boasts “fly-through” and “fly-by” results animation, a Japanese-language user interface, a new easier data entry/edit method based on property sheets, and numerous other performance-enhancing features.
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