HVAC CFD Software? Best option?
I work for a company looking to purchase CFD software for HVAC design. We mainley will be using it to help with critial HVAC spaces such as operating rooms, paitent rooms, and data centers.
The two that seem to be the best are floVent and Autodesk CFD(formerly BlueRidge).
floVent seems to offer a package that has a great interface for HVAC systems. As well as many easy to use options to display the results. The only real downside I see is you can only import 2D dxf files so the usermust create the model themselves.
There is not much advertised about the user interface of the autodesk CFD package, but I have read good things about the blueridge version. What worries me about the autodesk package is a tougher user interface that is not as devloped for HVAC use. But what I like about is that it seems to offer easy import of files including 3D revit models which would save some time when setting up the model.
Any HVAC people out there who care to chime in?
I have neither of the two software you mentioned. But thought I would comment on the 3D revit import:
It is not because the software has 3D revit import that it will save time or be very useful in the long run. 3D Revit model can be very very complex and not well suited for CFD modelling. As an example, the revit model will be for the whole building, while your CFD analysis will only be for the critical space you want to model. I would be asking for a trial version before you buy so that you can confirm whether the feature is really useful.
My personal experience: IES (dynamic thermal software, not CFD) has had an export for SketchUp for a few years. It's usefulness is quite debatable as it fails more often than it works...
Depending on your experience in the application of CFD in HVAC, the other key critical aspect you want to consider is how much support the company will be able to provide (particularly the HVAC specific one).
Feel free to PM if you would like further advice.
FloVENT CFD Software
I agree with what Julien says about importing models. Importing geometries requires a clean up and simplification in most instances which can be very tedious and time consuming. Building the relavent model from scratch allows you to control the geometry and mesh as you construct, thereby saving lots of headaches. I can recommend FloVENT which I use on a daily basis, which is particularly suited to DATA Centres. The only drawback is the price which is about $55K for a single node locked license.
Dr Colin Allison
Simultude, Thermal Fluid Modelling
After reaserching what software options would be best for my company and application I narowwed it down to two products. FloVent and Autodesk Simulation CFD. FloVent by far has the best user interface as well as the ability to build the model in it. There was not as much information about the Autodesk product, so I called up one of the head devlopers of there CFD package. I was plsently supprised with the capablity that they claimed. Here is a rough price comparision
Full year, single licence of FLoVent--55K
Full year single licence of Autodesk Simulation CFD--25k
Full year single licence of Autodesk Simulation CFD 360--7k
Our company could not justify the cost of the more expensive packages. The 360 version is a cloud based version. Its works great and is ver capable. As for brining in revit geometries. The software comes standard with autodesk inventor fusion. This is a simple version of invertor that makes cleaning up the revit geometries a breeze. It has worked great for us so far, export a revit model as a sat file. Open it in fusion and make the necessary changes, then launch the model from fusion into simulation CFD 360. Only downside to the cloud based version is waiting for the finished model to download once simulation is ran. But with most modern data connection downloading 100mb is very quick. I am very impresed with the new 360 product.
Thanks for your comments regarding the various software options. Just to clarify the FloVENT price. I believe it is around $US 55000, for a perpetual license, and probably around $US 25000 for an annual license.
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