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Designing In The Box

As an engineer who uses CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) extensively I spend most of my professional life designing in the box. So, what do I mean by box? When considering the built environment a box could be a room such as an office space, building, clean room, data center, etc. For electronics cooling applications there is rack, sub-rack, pizza box,  set-top box, etc.

While electronics cooling applications are interesting in their own right I find HVAC applications to be fascinating.  Okay, fascinating might be too strong of a word, let me look at the thesaurus…how about intriguing.

Compared to the electronics cooling world the HVAC world has been slower to adopt CFD as a mainstream design tool. Every day though more people are learning about the advantages of designing with CFD to optimize their space with respect to contamination control or thermal comfort, to name only a couple…within the box.  What I have found is that typically the airflow design is focused at the box level (black box). The engineers think in terms of ACH (Air Changes per Hour), U-Values, and heat loads. While this is all good (and necessary) it does not allow for any optimization with respect to comfort, contamination removal effectiveness, or energy use efficiency, within the box.  In addition to blogging about electronics cooling applications I will be discussing some of these intriguing topics in the HVAC world.

A lot of good design work using CFD happens every day in the HVAC industry and I believe with the current motivations to build green and sustainable design this trend will increase. It is an exciting time to be involved with designing with CFD!


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About John Wilson

John WilsonJohn Wilson joined Mentor Graphics Corporation, Mechanical Analysis Division (formerly Flomerics Ltd) in 1999. John has worked on or managed more than 100 thermal and airflow design projects. His modeling and design knowledge range from Electronics Cooling IC packaging level to Data Centers and Clean Rooms. He has extensive experience in IC package level test and analysis correlation through his work at Mentor Graphics' San Jose based Thermal Test Facility. He is currently the Consulting Engineering Manager, WRO in the Mechanical Analysis Division. Visit John R Wilson's Blog

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