A state-space method for real-time transient simulation of indoor airflow

Qiujian Wang, Yiqun Pan, Mingya Zhu, Zhizhong Huang, Wei Tian, Wangda Zuo, Xu Han, Peng Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Inhomogeneous airflow distribution is common in air-conditioned rooms, especially the large open spaces. To evaluate the thermal comfort of such space, or the control performance of the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in an efficient way, one will need a fast prediction method to simulate the airflow and temperature distribution. This paper proposes a discrete state-space method, called state-space fluid dynamics (SFD), for the fast indoor airflow simulation. To handle time-varying velocity and temperature field, SFD converts all the governing equations of fluid dynamics into the form of a state-space model. Four typical cases are selected to evaluate both the accuracy and speed of SFD, compared with fast fluid dynamics (FFD), which is another fast airflow simulation program. Results show that SFD is capable of achieving faster-than-real-time airflow simulation with an accuracy similar to FFD. The computing time of SFD is longer than FFD when the time step size is the same. However, SFD can generally produce better results than FFD when the time step size is larger, which allows SFD run faster than FFD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-194
Number of pages11
JournalBuilding and Environment
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • CFD
  • FFD
  • Real-time simulation
  • State-space fluid dynamics (SFD)
  • Transient air flow simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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