Loughborough University
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Transient three-dimensional CFD modelling of ceiling fans

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posted on 2017-07-12, 10:02 authored by Francesco Babich, Malcolm CookMalcolm Cook, Dennis Loveday, Rajan Rawal, Yash Shukla
Ceiling fans have been used for decades as a means of providing thermal comfort in tropical countries such as India. However, recent years have witnessed a significant increase in the use of air conditioning as a means to achieve comfort, and therefore in the total energy consumption and related CO2 emissions. Ceiling fans are still viable options to limit use of air conditioners or in combination with air conditioners without compromising on thermal comfort and still achieving energy savings. Ceiling fans generate nonuniform velocity profiles, and therefore relatively non-uniform thermal environments, whose characteristics may be tough to analyse with simple modelling methods. This issue can be investigated using CFD. However, to date, there are few works on ceiling fans, CFD and thermal comfort. More accurate models are therefore required to predict their performance. The research presented in this paper aimed to develop and validate a three-dimensional transient implicit CFD model of a typical ceiling fan available in India by comparing simulation results obtained using different URANS turbulence models with measured data collected in controlled environment. The results highlight that this ceiling fan model is able to replicate the predominant characteristics of the air flow generated by the fan such as the meandering plume and the local fine free shear layers. The best results are achieved when the SST k-u turbulence model is used, with 83% of the simulated values being within the error bars of the respective measured value.


This research was financially supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) via the LondonLoughborough Centre for Doctoral Research in Energy Demand (LoLo) (grant number EP/H009612/1), and by the British Council under the Global Innovation Initiative, the latter involving an international research collaboration between UC Berkeley (USA), CEPT University (India), Loughborough University and De Montfort University (UK).



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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Building and Environment






BABICH, F. ... et al., 2017. Transient three-dimensional CFD modelling of ceiling fans. Building and Environment, 123 (October 2017), pp. 37–49.


Elsevier Ltd.


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

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This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


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