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Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Simulation Solutions

Design of the new OPPO headquarters in China by Zaha Hadid Architects.

SimScale provides high-fidelity design simulation tools for building physics, urban design, and sustainability that are both technically and economically accessible for designers and engineers, at any scale, in the cloud. 

Our innovative cloud-native simulation platform lets you explore, design, and optimize your project ideas and solutions through the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), heat transfer, and structural dynamics analysis. The advanced physics solvers allow designers and engineers to evaluate & optimize building thermal performance, indoor air quality, indoor and outdoor thermal comfort, wind loading, and wind comfort. SimScales’ industry-leading and powerful solvers provide robust CAD interoperability meaning that more time is spent on design analysis through simulation rather than on CAD cleanup.  

By deploying simulation early in the design process, architects and engineers can ensure that they meet and in most cases exceed their design briefs whether that be for energy, sustainability, or comfort performance. Simulation provides detailed insights into building performance, allowing designers to identify design strengths and weaknesses in a virtual prototype, avoiding costly re-engineering later in the design stage. Furthermore, the resultant time & cost savings from simulating early and often allows architects and engineers to explore more of their ideas, using the parametric capabilities in SimScale and integrations with third-party CAD and analysis packages.

External AEC

  • Pedestrian wind comfort & compliance 
  • Building aerodynamics
  • Wind loading & facade pressures
  • Outdoor thermal comfort & heat island reduction

Internal AEC

Sustainability

How can SimScale solve your greatest design challenge?

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Features and Benefits 

cloud native parametrization

Cloud-Native Parameterization

Enables multiple design CAD geometries simulated in parallel with robust CAD handling and automatic meshing. Multi-directional wind analysis for wind comfort studies simulated in parallel e.g. up to 36 wind directions are simulated simultaneously saving time and cost.

aec solver speed

Solver Speed & Accuracy

SimScale meets and in many cases exceeds the accuracy of traditional CAE simulation tools (speed does not compromise accuracy). 

  • Advanced analysis capabilities using the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) pacefish® solver increased simulation times by an order of magnitude with robust meshing and is up to 10x faster than competing tools. 
  • Rapid transient simulations: Transient analysis using LBM is a must-have for AEC simulations due to the complex nature of turbulent flows in urban environments and the unsteady atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) profile needed to validate simulations against tried and tested wind tunnel methods.
aec ease of use

Ease-of-use

SimScale takes away the complexity of preparing imported geometry and allows designers to focus on analysis by providing an intuitive, automated, and robust UI that reduces person-hours required for simulation, and also makes it accessible to non-experts/designers.

  • Easy CAD import
  • Auto meshing and manual refinement where needed
  • A guided workflow for simulation setup
  • Hundreds of ready-made templates to choose from
  • Automatic results post-processing and image generation for wind comfort for example.
aec api and automation

API Integration & Automation

The SimScale API facilitates bi-directional coupling with many popular CAE and design optimization tools, including Rhino®, Ladybug®, Onshape®, Grasshopper®, ESRIArcGIS, Sketchup®, and more, allowing customization and app development by architects and engineers or third-party developers. The API is accessible using a Python SDK, already popular in the AEC industry.

Common file formats and CAD tools which integrate and import directly into the SimScale platform for faster CAD cleanup and geometry preparation

CAD Interoperability

SimScale can import various file formats making it easy for architects and engineers to work with their preferred CAD authoring tools including; Rhino®, Grasshopper, Revit®, AutoCAD®, Sketchup, and Onshape as well as importing common file formats such as STL, DWG, IGES, and more. CAD mode is a dedicated environment to interact with your CAD model, delete, extrude, or scale CAD parts, and perform CAD-related operations directly within the platform.

simscale urban microclimate datasheet thumbnail

Datasheets:

Architecture, Engineering, and Construction— Urban Microclimate

Download our datasheet and learn how architects and engineers can leverage SimScale to evaluate building aerodynamics, pedestrian wind comfort, outdoor thermal
comfort, and structural wind loading on buildings, structures, and entire cities.

simscale indoor environment datasheet thumbnail

Architecture, Engineering, and Construction — Indoor Environment

Download our datasheet and learn how engineers and architects can leverage SimScale to quickly predict and assess air movement, air quality, HVAC sizing, thermal comfort, and ventilation strategies.

ZHA-logo-368x227

Early-Stage AEC Design Simulation for Architects With Zaha Hadid

“If there is an architect that comes to you with a geometry in the morning, you can get the building ready for simulation in one or two hours, get the results after lunch and have time to go through a process of changes, according to the results. So in one day, we are able to optimize. The results we get from SimScale help us quickly understand how a building is going to behave and what kind of impact the building geometry will have on the surrounding space.”

Carlos Bausa Martinez, Sustainability Team Lead at Zaha Hadid Architects

adrian smith gordon gill architecture

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture Boosted Innovation and Design Confidence With SimScale

When we began using SimScale, we were able to shorten our CFD simulation feedback loop, which in turn allowed us to iterate and evaluate many design options at the earliest design phases of our projects. This proved to be particularly innovative because design changes during this time have the potential for the biggest impact on performance. The more our design team can test and make decisions based on these simulations directly translates to more confidence in meeting the project’s performance goals as well as desired design outcomes.

Anthony Viola AIA, Architect at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

thornton tomasetti api case study 368x345

Unlock Unlimited AEC Potential With SimScale’s API Capabilities

The digital wind tunnel app created by the CORE Studio Group is a CFD app using wind simulations for urban developments and looking particularly at PWC, structural wind loading, facade pressures, and integrating these analysis types into our digital design workflows. The app is really for the larger pool of engineers who might not be CFD experts but can run a quick simulation without leaving the rhino design environment.

Jeroen Janssen, Associate Director at Thornton Tomasetti

silent aire logo

Silent-Aire Cuts Their Product Development and Testing Time and Cost by Half

A typical development process before Silent-Aire embedded simulation in their workflow would have included building an initial test unit with a 4-6 week pre-testing phase and 85 engineering man-hours needed to test/optimize the design. Using SimScale this same process now takes 2-3 weeks of pre-testing and only 40 engineering man-hours. Using simulation, Silent-Aire has cut their product development and testing time and cost down by half (50%) on recent projects.

Shane McConn, Lead Mechanical Design Engineer at Silent-Aire

smartlouvre case study with simscale aec

Smartlouvre Technology Ltd. Validates the Performance of a MicroLouvre™ Screen for Low Energy Building Design With SimScale’s Cloud-Native Platform

Smartlouvre decided to recruit the expertise of SimScale GmbH because SimScale recognized the unique nature of the product and the fact that its performance was complex and challenging to simulate. SimScale’s expertise in the architecture, engineering, and construction sector meant they had a clear appreciation of all the challenges with simulating MicroLouvre performance criteria.

Andrew Cooper, Managing Director at Silent-Aire

Simulation Physics & Features

pwc in simscale

Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

  • Incompressible fluids
  • Compressible fluids
  • Internal or external flow
  • Laminar or turbulent flow
  • Steady-state or time transient flow
  • Isothermal
  • Single or multiphase fluids
  • Passive scalar transport
  • Porous media

Thermal

  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Convective heat transfer
  • Conjugate heat transfer
  • Steady/transient
  • Surface & volumetric heat loads
Outdoor thermal comfort analysis using a dedicated workflow from SimScale. The image shows the Universal Thermal Comfort Index (UTCI) for London

External AEC Features

  • Wind & airflow simulation
  • Integrated climate & wind data
  • Atmospheric boundary layer inlet wind speeds
  • Transient analysis for real wind conditions & animations
  • Building & city scale 
  • Wind comfort & safety on ground, balconies, terraces
  • Compliance criteria including:
    • Lawson
    • Davenport
    • Lawson LDDC
    • Lawson 2001
    • NEN8100
    • City of London (UK)
  • Up to 36 wind directions simulated in parallel
  • Simulate trees, vegetation, windscreens, & other mitigation measures through the use of porous media features
  • Wind load forces on buildings & structures
    • Average & peak loads
    • Parallel studies for shape optimization
    • Pressure and force outputs 
  • Custom script and workflow or Grasshopper/Ladybug
    • Universal Thermal Comfort Index (UTCI) calculations
    • Outdoor temperatures, wind speeds, & UTCI visualization
CFD airflow simulation through an air handling unit (AHU). Ventilation modeling is critical to understanding good indoor air quality and fresh air requirements for buildings

Internal AEC Features

  • Room thermal comfort & air temperatures
  • Occupant comfort using PMV, PPD
  • Building envelope heat transfer
  • Thermal bridging calculations 
  • Indoor air quality e.g. CO2
  • Air mixing, mean age of air, ventilation efficacy
  • Natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation strategies
  • Window opening strategies using parallel CAD models
  • Data center cooling and ventilation
  • Compliance with sustainability, overheating, & building regulations criteria including BREEAM©, LEED©, ASHRAE, & ISO standards
  • Simulate mechanical fans with fan performance curves

Feature Highlights

A wind comfort analysis of London using the City of London Microclimate Guidelines criteria. Wind comfort results post-processing and all the setup parameters are automated

GPU-Based CFD Solver Using Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM)

Transient simulations have historically required a high investment both in time and money to provide accurate results. This GPU-based solver uses the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) to tackle this problem by pairing high accuracy with unparalleled speed and is accessible via the cloud with SimScale’s CFD analysis software. We partnered with Numeric Systems GmbH to develop this innovative feature through their tool pacefish®. We have reduced running times for transient simulations from weeks and days to hours and minutes. Its ability to run on multiple GPUs in parallel enables turnaround times that are 20-30 times shorter than standard methods. Moreover, Pacefish® supports several turbulence modeling types such as Smagorinsky, SST-DDES, Hybrid SST-IDDES, and k-omega SST making it unique among other LBM solvers.

A pedestrian wind comfort plot of a city center CAD model using the LBM solver in SimScale. Higher wind velocities are shown in red and are defined as uncomfortable or unsafe for pedestrians

Building Aerodynamics and Pedestrian Wind Comfort (PWC)

The LBM solver in SimScale is used to automate multi-direction wind comfort analysis using a dedicated and guided workflow. Pedestrian wind comfort analysis (PWC) is used to assess the effects of building external aerodynamics on pedestrians and typically returns a comfort map in a specified area. This is usually done to demonstrate that new developments (e.g. buildings) do not interfere with pedestrian comfort or safety, or it can be used to experiment with mitigation features (trees, screens, and canopies for example) to ensure that pedestrians remain comfortable. This analysis tool, in addition to having a very simple workflow, incorporates the visualization of standardized wind comfort zones, allowing up to 36 wind directions to be simultaneously simulated. The transient simulations based on actual climate data can be used for building aerodynamic analysis such as evaluating common airflow patterns in urban spaces and as compliance tools for planning purposes. Results are auto-generated in accordance with several commonly used criteria including Lawson, NEN8100, and Davenport. New boundary conditions include the Atmospheric Boundary Layer (ABL) inlet where users can specify wind speed based on a logarithmic law, by defining reference height, reference speed, and ground description.

SimScale user interface for the pedestrian wind comfort analysis setup. The image shows how to select climate data based on location

Integrated Climate Data

SimScale comes with integrated climate data provided by Meteoblue. The database provides historical and forecast wind speed and direction data for thousands of locations worldwide and can be used to generate data for other locations. The PWC workflow in SimScale has a wind conditions tab that allows users to specify the location and wind engineering standards to comply with, and then automatically import the relevant weather data. Users can also set their own parameters using latitude and longitude. A similar approach is used for solar radiation modeling data.

Rendered image of velocity streamlines through an urban CAD model for wind comfort analysis. Trees are modeled for their impact on wind speeds

Porous Media

Using the porous media feature in SimScale, users now have the possibility to model different families of trees. With built-in tree models based on a library of tree species, it is easy to set up a tree with the correct wind hindrance properties and assign volumes or faces on the model that correspond to where the trees are located. Alternatively, users can also input specific porosity and pressure drop value to populate the parameters of any specific tree. Architects, urban designers, and wind engineers can now observe and assess the effects of trees in their urban landscape models. The porous media feature is also used to simulate other wind mitigating features such as windscreens, canopies, and various types of meshes. Its application is not limited to external use and many engineers use the feature to model types of ventilation louvres, dampers, and air diffusers.

Thermal analysis of a building using CFD. Image shows solar radiation that passes through the clasing. Higher solar gains are shown in red

Solar Radiation

Solar radiation has a significant impact on the indoor and outdoor thermal comfort of buildings and cities. As an additional heat source, its comprised of two components: the direct and the diffuse solar load. Since direct solar load is more important for the thermal assessment of a building design, implementing the direction is a critical step in simulating the thermal comfort of building designs. To achieve this, SimScale has developed a tool that allows engineers to use real-life data to implement accurate solar gains into the building thermal model. The solar features are available using our conjugate heat transfer (CHT) solver and come with surface-to-surface radiation to account for internal energy gains from incoming solar radiation.

Validation case of heat conduction through a building structural joint to evaluate thermal bridging. Simulation is used to reduce energy loss through the building envelope

Thermal Bridges and Building Envelope

Thermal bridging has a significant impact on the thermal and energy performance of buildings and structures. Heat (and hence, energy) is conducted through solid elements of a building’s structure and is lost through the envelope. This is often unaccounted for in the original energy and thermal design calculations because it is difficult to predict and manage. Overall, the energy lost through thermal bridges makes the design less energy-efficient and can lead to compliance failure with building regulations and standards. SimScale allows architects and engineers to model the impact of heat conduction and thermal bridging on their building designs using CFD simulation in the cloud. With SimScale, designers can benefit from more accurate thermal bridging predictions, as well as the ability to visualize heat conduction inside and outside of building models.

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FAQs

Pacefish is a GPU based Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) incompressible solver integrated into SimScale. It is used for simulating incompressible external CFD studies including for building and automotive aerodynamics and pedestrian wind comfort studies.

Users can model up to 36 wind directions in parallel using the PWC tool in SimScale. A common approach is to use lesser wind directions e.g. four or eight, for early stage design studies.

For external wind studies a good rule to thumb is to have an area approximately 300 m radius from your building or region of interest. It will depend also on the level of detail (Mesh fineness) and density of surrounding buildings you wish to use.

Yes. SimScale supports the import terrain using Rhino or Revit models.

GPU Hours (GPUh) are units of cloud computing consumption for our LBM solvers that use GPUs (rather than CPUs). The price per GPUh depends on your SimScale subscription type.

  • Lawson
  • Davenport
  • Lawson LDDC
  • Lawson 2001
  • NEN8100
  • City of London (UK)

SimScale can import various file formats including; Rhino, Grasshopper, Revit, AutoCAD, Sketchup and Onshape as well as importing common file formats such as STL, DWG, IGES, and more.

SimScale has integrated the Meteoblue climate database directly in the PWC automated workflow tool. You can access wind speed data for thousands of locations worldwide from within SimScale.

Yes. SimScale has a new solar radiation modeling feature in our conjugate heat transfer (CHT) solver.

Yes. You can export all your results from SimScale and use them as inputs to further refine your thermal model. For example, using our LBM solvers, you can simulate annual wind speed and direction and calculate the wind pressure coefficients on facades and window openings for example. You can then apply these in your thermal modeling tool for more accurate ventilation calculations.

Both convective heat transfer and conjugate heat transfer analysis types are used based on Openfoam.

Yes. You can use the passive scalar option to model CO2 for example and calculate concentration in parts per million and also air quality metrics such as mean age of air.

Yes. You can model ventilation equipment such as supply diffusers and louvres either directly using a CAD model or indirectly using a pressure-flow relationship and our porous media feature. Fan and pump performance curves can also be imported.

  • Plots generated from result control items
  • Tables and plots for specific result outputs, such as temperature or wind comfort
  • Graphical post-processing for 3D visualization of simulation results
  • Downloading of result database for local post-processing

Yes. The database from the simulation run results can be exported and downloaded. The files obtained this way can be opened in a program such as ParaView. The formats for the result files depend on the type of simulation and solver used.