Response surface models for CFD predictions of air diffusion performance index in a displacement ventilated office

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Response surface models for CFD predictions of air diffusion performance index in a displacement ventilated office

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performance index in a displacement ventilated office

K.C. Ng a,*, K. Kadirgama b,1, E.Y.K. Ng c,2

a

Department of Research & Applications, O.Y.L. R&D Center, Lot 4739, Jalan BRP 8/2, Taman Bukit Rahman Putra, 47000,

Sungai Buloh, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

b

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Km. 7, Jalan Kajang-Puchong, 43009 Kajang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

c

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798, Singapore

Received 29 January 2007; received in revised form 22 March 2007; accepted 13 April 2007

Abstract

Based on the Response Surface Methodology (RSM), the development of first- and second-order models for predicting the Air Diffusion

Performance Index (ADPI) in a displacement-ventilated office is presented. By adopting the technique of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD),

the new ADPI models developed are used to investigate the effect of simultaneous variation of three design variables in a displacement ventilation

case, i.e. location of the displacement diffuser (Ldd), supply temperature (T) and exhaust position (Lex) on the comfort parameter ADPI. The RSM

analyses are carried out with the aid of a statistical software package MINITAB. In the current study, the separate effect of individual design

variable as well as the second-order interactions between these variables, are investigated. Based on the variance analyses of both the first- and

second-order RSM models, the most influential design variable is the supply temperature. In addition, it is found that the interactions of supply

temperature with other design variables are insignificant, as deduced from the second-order RSM model. The optimised ADPI value is

subsequently obtained from the model equations.

# 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Response Surface Methodology (RSM); Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD); Air Diffusion Performance Index (ADPI); Thermal comfort; Air

ventilation

1. Introduction

The cooling of occupied spaces, which is generally

accomplished by mechanical ventilation, consumes a huge

amount of non-renewable fossil energy in the world that leads

to the pollution of atmospheric environment. Therefore, in

order to minimise the energy usage while enabling good

thermal comfort condition to be achieved, effective distribution

of fresh air within an occupied space is of practical importance.

For a long time, the heating, ventilating and air conditioning

(HVAC) engineers and researchers have been realising that in

order to optimise the comfort condition in an occupied space,

efficient quantitative models that establish the relationship

between a large group of independent parameters (design

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +60 389286227; fax: +60 389212116.

E-mail addresses: ngkhaiching2000@yahoo.com (K.C. Ng),

kumaran_uni1@yahoo.com (K. Kadirgama), mykng@ntu.edu.sg (E.Y.K. Ng).

1

Tel.: +60 389287255, fax: +60 389212116.

2

Tel.: +65 67904455, fax: +65 67911859.

This can be accomplished by both the experimental and

numerical approaches.

In order to study the relationship between the response and

independent design variables, a large number of experiments

are undoubtedly required. This has reflected on the increased

total cost of the study, which is particularly true in the case of

employing physical experimentations. Therefore, numerical

experiments such as those accomplished by CFD have been

gaining immense popularity within the HVAC industry since

the past few decades. Despite the fact that it is not totally free

from errors, it serves as a practical design tool for building

engineers nowadays. For example, by using pure numerical

approach, Haghighat et al. [1] have investigated the relationship

between the concentration level in a partitioned room and

various positions of door, supply and exhaust. Lee and Awbi [2]

have studied the effect of partition on ventilation effectiveness

due to its location and gap underneath. Lim et al. [3] have

determined the optimum position of an air-conditioned unit for

achieving good thermal comfort condition (based on the

0378-7788/$ see front matter # 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.04.024

Please cite this article in press as: K.C. Ng et al., Response surface models for CFD predictions of air diffusion performance index in a

displacement ventilated office, Energy & Buildings (2007), doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.04.024

+ Models

ENB-2319; No of Pages 8

recently, by employing the commercial CFD code (FLUENT),

Ooi et al. [4] have studied the temperature and velocity

distributions in an air-conditioned room for various positions of

the air conditioner blower. Based on the results of three blower

positions simulated, the best position is then selected for

maximum comfort of an occupant. In addition, some

recommendations have been given by Bojic et al. [5], based

on the pure CFD analyses (FLOVENT), the optimum

placement of a window-type air conditioner in a residential

bedroom in order to achieve minimum draft subjected to the

calculation of Air Diffusion Performance Index (ADPI). It can

be noted in general, however, most of the numerical studies

focus on the one-factor-at-a-time design, without having any

idea on the behaviour of response variable when two or more

design variables are varied at the same time. The current paper

intends to consider this particular issue that involves making

design decision based on several design variables, which is

practically desirable.

In order to demonstrate the method, the authors have

considered the effect of simultaneous variations of three design

variables in a displacement-ventilated office (refer to Fig. 1),

i.e. location of the displacement diffuser (Ldd), supply

temperature (T) and exhaust position (Lex) on the behaviour

of response variable (ADPI). The case considered here is taken

from He et al. [6], in which detailed numerical and

experimental studies have been performed to investigate the

efficiency of contaminant removal for several ventilation

systems. Here, the CFD model developed is firstly validated

with the experimental data provided by He et al. [6], prior to

Fig. 1. Configuration of the mockup office equipped with a displacement ventilation system investigated by He et al. [6]. The measurement points are 1A, 2A, 3A and

4A. Exact dimensions and locations of the obstacles and measurement points can be found in He et al. [6]. The design variables (Ldd and Lex) are measured from the

origin O, (a) isometric view and (b) top view.

Please cite this article in press as: K.C. Ng et al., Response surface models for CFD predictions of air diffusion performance index in a

displacement ventilated office, Energy & Buildings (2007), doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.04.024

+ Models

ENB-2319; No of Pages 8

noted by Abou-El-Hossein et al. [7] that RSM is one of the

statistical techniques that saves cost and time in conducting

experiments by reducing the total number of required tests.

Furthermore, RSM helps to identify, with great accuracy, the

effect of the interactions of different design variables on the

response when they are varied simultaneously. In spite of this,

within the community of building engineering, only a few

research works based on RSM are reported, such as those by

Klemm et al. [8] for multicriteria optimisation and Valencia

et al. [9] for model development to predict asphalt pavement

properties.

In this study, based on RSM, the first- and second-order

models for the comfort parameter ADPI are developed for a

displacement ventilation case illustrated in Fig. 1. Based on the

received RSM models from the CFD simulation, the most

influential design variable is determined and the corresponding

interactions between the design variables are subsequently

identified. Also, based on the model equations obtained, one

can easily identify the optimum design combination to achieve

good thermal comfort condition based on the ADPI value,

which is frequently used as a reference value for indoor airflow

studies [10].

expressed mathematically as:

y f x1 ; x2 ; . . . ; xk

mathematical and statistical techniques for empirical model

building. By careful design of experiments, the objective is to

optimise a response variable (output variable), which is

influenced by several independent design variables (input

variables). An experiment is a series of tests, called runs, in

which changes are made in the input variables in order to

identify the reasons for changes in the output response.

Originally, RSM has been developed to model experimental

responses and then migrated into the modelling of numerical

experiments. The difference is in the type of error generated by

the response. In physical experiments, inaccuracy can be due to

measurement errors whereas in numerical experiments, errors

may due to incomplete convergence of the iterative process,

round-off errors and the discrete representation of continuous

physical phenomena. In RSM, the errors are assumed to be

random.

RSM is a methodology of constructing approximations of

the system behavior using results of the response analyses

calculated at a series of points in the design variable space.

Optimisation of RSM can be solved in the following three

stages:

Design of experiment.

Building the response surface model.

Solution of minimization/maximisation problem according

to the criterion selected.

The concept of a response surface involves a dependent

variable y called the response variable and several independent

design variables x1, x2, . . ., xk. If all of these variables are

(1)

response variable y, subjected to certain combination of design

variables. In what next, the ADPI model in the form of Eq. (1)

will be expressed.

3. Model of air diffusion performance index

Draft is a frequent concern when designing indoor

environments [11]. In order to account for the presence of

draft, which is defined as any localised feeling of coolness or

warmth of any position of the body due to both air movement

and air temperature, the ADPI parameter is used in the current

study. ADPI presents the percentage of locations where values

are taken that meet specifications for effective draft temperature

(1.7 K < u< 1.1 K) and air speed (WS < 0.35 m/s). If ADPI

reaches its maximum value, i.e. 100%, the most desirable

condition is thereby achieved [5]. The effective draft

temperature is expressed as:

u T x T c aWS b

(2)

where Tx is the local dry bulb temperature for air (8C), Tc the

averaged room dry bulb temperature (8C) and WS is the air

speed (m/s). The constants a and b are taken as 8 K s/m and

0.15 m/s, respectively.

With reference to RSM, where the response variable is ADPI

in the current study, the relationship between the investigated

three design variables and the response variable can be

represented by the linear Eq. (3):

y1 b0 x0 b1 x1 b2 x2 b3 x3

(3)

the model parameter. x0 is dummy variable (x0 = 1) and b0 is an

arbitrary constant. The design variables such as x1, x2 and x3 are

the location of the displacement diffuser (Ldd), supply temperature (T) and exhaust position (Lex), respectively.

In most of the practical cases, the response surface

demonstrates some curvature effects in most ranges of the

design variables. Therefore, it would be more useful for a

designer to consider the second-order model. The practical

importance of second-order model is to help one to understand

the second-order effect of each design variable separately and

the two-way interaction amongst these design variables. This

second-order model y(2) can be represented by Eq. (4), in

general, for three design variables:

y2 b0 x0 b1 x1 b2 x2 b3 x3 b11 x21 b22 x22 b33 x23

b12 x1 x2 b13 x1 x3 b23 x2 x3

(4)

interaction between the corresponding variables. For example,

b12 represents the significance of interaction between design

variable 1 and 2.

Please cite this article in press as: K.C. Ng et al., Response surface models for CFD predictions of air diffusion performance index in a

displacement ventilated office, Energy & Buildings (2007), doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.04.024

+ Models

ENB-2319; No of Pages 8

4. Research methodology

4.1. CFD simulation

The ADPI models, as discussed in the previous section, are

determined numerically in the current work. The CFD package

used has been constantly verified with the available experimental measurement and reference solution (see [12,13]). Here,

prior to performing the sensitivity study based on RSM, the

flow model is validated with the experimental data given by He

et al. [6]. The ADPI values for various design combinations

(obtained from the BoxBehnken method to be discussed later)

are then determined by the validated CFD model.

The flow solver is based on the finite-volume formulation

on structured meshes using the cell-centered approach. It uses

a non-staggered variable storage technique, which is more

robust as compared to the traditional staggered arrangement

[14]. Therefore, in order to avoid the pressure oscillations

arisen due to the non-staggered arrangement, the pressure

interpolation technique similar to the one proposed by Rhie

and Chow [15] is adopted here. The issue of pressurevelocity

decoupling associated with the current incompressible flow

equations is resolved via the SIMPLE algorithm of Patankar

[16]; more recent details of SIMPLE algorithm can be found

in Jasak [17]. The Bi-Conjugate Gradient (Bi-CGSTAB)

method proposed by Van der Vorst [18] has been used to solve

the sparse matrix system arisen from the discretised flow

equations. In the current study, the first-order upwind

differencing scheme for convective discretisation is adopted

for robustness purpose. This is acceptable in the current

context due to the fact that trend analysis deduced from the

simulation results of various designs is more important here.

In order to model the flow turbulence, the RNG ke equations

are adopted. Buoyancy is modelled via the Boussinesq

approximation. In order to promote numerical stability of the

buoyant flow simulation, a transient approach has been used

with a time step size of 0.1 s. The results are assumed to be

change between the variables at current and previous time

steps is less than 0.01%.

The configuration of the displacement ventilation flow case

has been illustrated in Fig. 1. The design variables in this

particular design combination (based on that of [6]) are:

Ldd = 1.5550 m, T = 15.9 8C and Lex = 2.33 m. Figs. 2 and 3

compare the predicted speed and temperature profiles with the

available experimental data at four locations (see 1A, 2A, 3A

and 4A in Fig. 1). In general, the predicted speed and

temperature variations match the measurements and, by

considering the coarseness of the mesh system employed

(30 25 16), the agreements can be considered satisfactorily. The discrepancies between the predicted and measured

speed profiles may due to, partly, the low speed values

associated in most of the space in which the hot-sphere

anemometers may fail to give accurate results [6]. For the

temperature profiles, all the predictions follow the similar

trends of those measured. Here, the predicted and measured

temperature profiles have shown clear stratification associated

with the displacement ventilation system.

4.2. Experimental design for RSM

With the validation of the current CFD model, the ADPI

models, i.e. Eqs. (3) and (4), are now readily to be determined.

The model parameter b is calculated from the least square

method, in which the calculation is performed by adopting the

commercial statistical software, MINITAB. In order to reduce

the total number of numerical tests and allow simultaneous

variation of the three independent design variables, the

numerical procedure has to be well designed.

In the current study, the BoxBehnken design method,

which is based on the combination of the factorial with

incomplete block design, has been adopted. The attractive part

of this method is that it does not require a large number of tests

as it considers only three levels (lowest 1, middle 0 and

Fig. 2. Comparison of speed profiles on mesh 30 25 16 at four locations in a displacement ventilated room. H = 2.26 m. ^: Experiment [6],

prediction.

: current

displacement ventilated office, Energy & Buildings (2007), doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.04.024

+ Models

ENB-2319; No of Pages 8

Fig. 3. Comparison of temperature profiles on mesh 30 26 16 at four locations in a displacement ventilated room. H = 2.26 m. T* = (T Ts)/(Te Ts). Ts is the

supply temperature (15.9 8C), Te is the exhaust temperature (24.8 8C). ^: Experiment [6],

: current prediction.

Table 1

Levels of design variables

Design variable

Coding of levels

1 (lowest)

diffuser, Ldd [m]

Supply temperature, T [8C]

Exhaust position, Lex [m]

0.700

13

0.00

0 (middle)

1.905

16

2.36

1 (highest)

3.110

19

4.72

conditions of 15 tests are generated, as shown in Table 2. Based

on these testing conditions, the comfort parameter (response

variable), ADPI is then computed from the in-house CFD

package as described earlier. The CFD-predicted ADPI values

are plotted in Fig. 4 for different test numbers, on top of those

predictions based on RSM, which will be discussed in the next

section.

5. Results and discussions

minimum levels (constraints) of each design variable are

normally determined based on the recommendations given by

the manufacturer as well as users preferences. The levels of the

three design variables are given in Table 1. The BoxBehnken

design is normally used for non-sequential experimentation,

where a test is conducted only once, which in turn allows

efficient evaluation of the model parameters in the first- and

After performing the 15 numerical tests using CFD, the

ADPI simulated is used to find the model parameters appearing

in the postulated first-order model (see Eq. (3)). In order to

perform the calculation of these parameters, the least square

method is used with the aid of MINITAB. The first-order linear

Table 2

CFD simulation conditions according to BoxBehnken design and the predicted ADPI models based on CFD and RSM

Test number

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

diffuser, Ldd [m]

Supply temperature,

T [8C]

Exhaust position,

Lex [m]

ADPI (%)

CFD

1st-order RSM

2nd-order RSM

3.110

3.110

1.905

0.700

1.905

1.905

3.110

0.700

3.110

0.700

0.700

1.905

1.905

1.905

1.905

16

16

13

19

19

13

13

16

19

16

13

16

16

16

19

4.720

0.000

4.720

2.360

4.720

0.000

2.360

4.720

2.360

0.000

2.360

2.360

2.360

2.360

0.000

36.23

35.70

22.87

40.96

42.21

22.77

21.92

35.02

42.59

33.97

26.08

35.04

35.04

35.04

41.72

34.27

33.72

24.99

43.13

43.45

24.44

24.76

34.17

43.23

33.62

24.66

33.95

33.95

33.95

42.90

35.42

35.14

23.33

40.62

42.00

22.99

22.26

35.58

43.62

34.78

25.06

35.71

35.71

35.71

41.25

displacement ventilated office, Energy & Buildings (2007), doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.04.024

+ Models

ENB-2319; No of Pages 8

(Lex) do not contribute much to the variation of the ADPI. In

general, the increase of all the design variables will cause

the ADPI to become larger, which is desirable from the

design point of view. Chung and Lee [10] have performed a

similar trend analysis on ADPI based on different values of

inlet air temperature. It is worth to mention here that, as

illustrated in Fig. 5, the current predicted model agree

qualitatively well with that of Chung and Lee [10], in which

the ADPI values increase as the supply temperature

increases.

As seen from Fig. 4, the predicted ADPI values obtained

from the first-order model agree well with the CFD values. The

adequacy of the first-order model is verified by using the

analysis of variance (ANOVA). At a level of confidence of 95%,

the model is checked for its adequacy. As shown in Table 3, the

P-value of 0.236 (> 0.05) is not significant with the lack-of fit

and F-ratio is 3.61. This implies that the model can fit and it is

adequate [19].

Here, the second-order model is formulated to describe the

effect of the three design variables investigated on the ADPI,

given by MINITAB:

ADPI2 82:2641 6:2873Ldd 12:3392T 0:3862Lex

0:0074L2dd 0:3143T 2 0:0875L2ex

0:4004Ldd T 0:0452Ldd Lex 0:0143TLex

Ldd is 3.11 m and Lex is 4.72 m.

ADPI1 15:6377 0:0241Ldd 3:0770T 0:1153Lex

(5)

From this linear expression, by examining the values of

the coefficients, one can easily deduce that the response

variable ADPI is significantly affected by the supply

temperature (T). Also, it is interesting to note that the

(6)

coefficients of the first-order terms, the supply temperature

(T) has the most dominant effect on the ADPI. The contribution

of exhaust location (Lex) is the least significant here. Also,

owing to the P-value of interaction is 0.248 (>0.05), one can

easily deduce that the interactions of distinct design variables

are not significant here. In other words, the most dominant

design variable T has minimum interaction with others in the

current context.

As seen from Fig. 4, the predicted ADPI using the secondorder RSM model is able to produce values close to those

computed using CFD, and, as it should be the case, it exhibits

better agreement as compared to those from the first-order RSM

model. The ANOVA shown in Table 4 indicates that the model

is adequate as the P-value of the lack-of-fit is not significant

(>0.05).

Table 3

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for first-order equation (from MINITAB)

Source of variation

Sum of squares

Mean squares

F-ratio

P-value

Regression

Linear

Residual error

Lack-of-fit

Pure error

Total

3

3

11

9

2

14

682.312

682.312

45.991

43.324

2.667

728.303

227.440

227.440

4.181

4.814

1.333

54.400

54.400

0.000

0.000

3.610

0.236

displacement ventilated office, Energy & Buildings (2007), doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.04.024

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ENB-2319; No of Pages 8

Table 4

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for second-order equation (from MINITAB)

Source of variation

Sum of squares

Mean squares

F-ratio

P-value

Regression

Linear

Square

Interaction

Residual error

Lack-of-fit

Pure error

Total

9

3

3

3

5

3

2

14

720.851

682.312

30.050

8.489

7.452

4.785

2.667

728.303

80.095

227.44

10.017

2.830

1.490

1.595

1.333

53.740

152.610

6.720

1.900

0.000

0.000

0.033

0.248

1.200

0.485

With the ADPI models obtained, the optimised response

variable (ADPI) can then be determined. Here, the goal is to

maximise the ADPI from the correct combination of the design

variables.

For optimisation purpose, the response variable is transformed using a specific desirability function shown in Fig. 6.

The weight defines the shape of the desirability function for the

response, which can be selected from 0.1 to 10.0 to emphasise

or de-emphasize the target value (set to 100%). A weight can be

Less than one (minimum is 0.1) places less emphasis on the

target, or

Equal to one places equal importance on the target and the

bounds, or

Greater than one (maximum is 10.0) places more emphasis on

the target, which is the main concern of the current work.

Therefore, the weight is set to 10.0.

From the second-order ADPI model, the optimized ADPI

value is 43.41% (calculated from MINITAB), subjected to the

following combination of the design variables:

Ldd 3:11 m; T 19 C; Lex 4:6487 m:

(7)

RSM, the CFD simulation is performed again, by adopting the

combination of design variables shown in Eq. (7). The ADPI

computed is 42.68% (%difference = 1.71%), and it is worth to

mention here that it is indeed the highest ADPI value as

compared to those from the previous 15 CFD tests (see Table 2).

Apparently, all the design variables are approaching their

maximum values (level = 1) in the case of maximum ADPI

value is desired. This condition holds true even for the first-

ceiling values of those design variables in order to achieve the

most desirable comfort condition, by maximising the ADPI

value in the current context.

6. Conclusion

CFD studies have been applied extensively to the simulation

of indoor/outdoor airflow. However, most of the numerical tests

are based on a one-factor-at-a-time design, without having any

idea about the behaviour of an output parameter (response)

when two or more design variables are varied simultaneously.

The current study focuses on the effect of simultaneous

variations of three design variables in a displacement-ventilated

office, i.e. location of the displacement diffuser (Ldd), supply

temperature (T) and exhaust position (Lex) on behaviour of the

response variable (air diffusion performance index).

In the current work, the response surface methodology has

been proven to be a successful technique to perform the trend

analysis of air diffusion performance index with respect to

various combinations of three design variables. By using the

least square method, the first- and second-order models have

been developed based on the test conditions in accordance with

the BoxBehnken design method. The models have been found

to accurately representing the ADPI values with respect to those

simulated using CFD. The equations have been checked for

their adequacy with a confidence interval of 95%.

Both RSM models reveal that the supply temperature is the

most significant design variable in determining the ADPI

response as compared to the others. In general, within the

working range of the supply temperatures considered here,

ADPI increases as the supply temperature increases. Based on

the second-order RSM model, the supply temperature does not

interact much with the remaining design variables. Therefore,

one may exclude both locations of displacement diffuser and

exhaust for indoor comfort design purpose (based on ADPI) in

the current design case. With the model equations obtained, a

designer can subsequently select the best combination of design

variables for achieving optimum comfort condition.

Acknowledgements

appreciation to his former colleague, Dr. T.K. Lim (now in

AMD, Singapore) for his recommendation. We also acknowl-

displacement ventilated office, Energy & Buildings (2007), doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.04.024

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ENB-2319; No of Pages 8

consistent interest and support on the current work. The

software facilities provided by Universiti Tenaga Nasional

(UNITEN) are greatly appreciated. Also, special thanks to Mr.

Anuar (UNITEN), for developing the Graphical User Interface

of the current CFD package.

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