Modeling and solving building physics problems with FemLab.

A.W.M. Schijndel, van

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
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The commercially available software package FemLab is evaluated as solver for building physics problems based on partial differential equations (PDEs). The software is designed to simulate systems of coupled PDEs which may be 1D, 2D or 3D, non-linear and time dependent. An important feature of FemLab is that the user can focus on the model (PDE coefficients on the domain and boundary) and does not have to spend much time on solving and visualization. In this paper, 4 cases are considered. First, in order to illustrate how FemLab works, an example including the complete code for solving as well as the results are given for a simple 2D steady-state heat transfer problem. In the next 2 cases, the reliability is tested for two very different building physics problems: A 2D dynamic airflow problem, modeled using Navier–Stokes and buoyancy equations, and a 1D dynamic non-linear moisture transport in a porous material. These simulation results are validated and show a good agreement with measurements. In the last case, FemLab's capability of simulating 3D problems is shown by a dynamic combined heat and moisture transport problem. This example is a 3D extension of a given 2D problem from IEA Annex 24 (Final Report—Task 1). For all models the crucial part of the codes (geometry, PDEs and boundary specifications) are given. The FemLab software is written in the MatLab environment (The Mathworks, Inc. MatLab manual, Version 5.3, 1998) and therefore it is possible to use the visualization tools, toolboxes and all other programs written in MatLab. The evaluation illustrates the powerful and flexible nature of FemLab for solving scientific and engineering building physics problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-327
Number of pages9
JournalBuilding and Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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