This paper reports on an investigation of the adequacy of Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), using a standard Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) model, for predicting dispersion of neutrally buoyant gas in a large indoor space. We used CFD to predict pollutant (dye) concentration profiles in a water filled scale model of an atrium with a continuous pollutant source. Predictions from the RANS formulation are comparable to an ensemble average of independent identical experiments. Model results were compared to pollutant concentration data in a horizontal plane from experiments in a scale model atrium. Predictions were made for steady-state (fully developed) and transient (developing) pollutant concentrations. Agreement between CFD predictions and ensemble averaged experimental measurements is quantified using the ratios of CFD-predicted and experimentally measured dye concentration at a large number of points in the measurement plane. Agreement is considered good if these ratios fall between 0.5 and 2.0 at all points in the plane. The standard k-epsilon two equation turbulence model obtains this level of agreement and predicts pollutant arrival time to the measurement plane within a few seconds. These results suggest that this modeling approach is adequate for predicting isothermal pollutant transport in a large room with simple geometry.

}, author = {Elizabeth U. Finlayson and Ashok J. Gadgil and Tracy L. Thatcher and Richard G. Sextro} }