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Mixed Results for CFD Modeling of Biocontainment Facilities
Posted Sun May 13, 2007 @09:52PM
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News Biocontainment facilities architect Jon Crane describes the mixed results CFD modeling has had on the design of laboratories and animal rooms.

CFD has been used successfully for approximately ten years to identify how air flows in animal rooms in various design situations such as high supply diffusers and low exhaust or high supply diffusers and high exhaust. The benefits allow better design for more uniform temperatures, control of allergens, and minimization of dead air spaces.

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However, it would be important to understand how the information you might gather would impact your design or operational decisions. As there is little difference in the effectiveness of air change rates that are normally used in laboratory and animal facility design on the removal of biocontaminants, it is unlikely that the information gained by CFD modeling within a space would change design decisions. In fact, the room should be looked at as either contaminated, potentially contaminated, or not contaminated, with personnel protective equipment and protocols set up accordingly based on the risk assessment of the agent and use.

Even though this tuning of the design from CFD modeling may be valuable, little benefit would be gained in radical changes to normal practices in the design of biocontainment facilities. One basic principle should be applied; keep the design as simple as practicable. Overcomplicating the design will make the operations overcompli-cated for the life of the facility.

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