Using CFD capabilities of CONTAM 3.0 for simulating airflow and contaminant transport in and around buildings

Liangzhu Wang, W. Stuart Dols, Qingyan Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


CONTAM is a multizone building airflow and contaminant transport computer program often used for ventilation and indoor air quality analysis. The program was recently enhanced to incorporate CFD capabilities for both outdoor and indoor environmental analysis. This paper introduces the CFD features implemented within the most recent version, CONTAM 3.0. The outdoor or external CFD link predicts wind pressure coefficients and contaminant concentrations for airflow paths at the building surface. A converter computer program translates the wind pressure coefficients to the CONTAM data format. This external CFD link is useful for parametric studies of the impact of outdoor air quality on indoor environment when considering different wind directions or contaminant locations, especially simulations under transient conditions. The ability to embed a single CFD zone in a CONTAM network model has also been implemented. This enables the detailed modeling of a zone when the well-mixed multizone assumption is not appropriate and then uses the multizone approach for the rest of a building, thus capturing the local distribution of air and contaminant properties in a zone and their impacts on other zones of a building. CFD capabilities are demonstrated using a generic residential house model to show how these two new CFD features enhance the existing CONTAM capabilities for both indoor and outdoor air quality analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-763
Number of pages15
JournalHVAC and R Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction


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