Icing Formation Analysis

Falling ice and snow from man-made structures can be a dangerous risk for designers, engineers, or owners in any cold-weather environment.  The propensity for wintry precipitation to accumulate on tall and super-tall buildings and the location of such weather build-up above pedestrian areas in metropolitan regions must be carefully studied by qualified firms to assess potential issues and recommend possible design revisions, material selections, or heat-trace elements to mitigate such hazardous conditions.  To accomplish this, CDC utilizes scientific computer modeling known as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to help identify potential icing risks on individual building components; CDC then relies on our extensive façade and roofing system design and engineering knowledge to recommend prudent suggestions to designers and owners to lessen these concerns.   

Different scientific approaches and methodologies may be used in ice accretion assessment, but CDC prefers to conduct our analysis utilizing the Eulerian frame of reference to provide more accurate and reliable results.  Advantages of using the Eulerian approach over a less accurate Lagrangian approach are as follows:

  • Water droplets are represented by volume fraction in a more realistic continuous phase and not as discrete particles
  • Individual droplet sizes are solved as a separate phase and not as particle tracking
  • Refined surface mesh yields smooth impingement region in lieu of a requirement for a large number of droplets to achieve similar results
  • Convenient method to specify droplet free stream condition is provided
  • More accurate results of accretion on multi-directional and contoured building components such as vertical and horizontal fins, open-lattice framing, spires, sunshades, etc. is provided
  • Requires increased computing power and time to conduct flow fields.

Today’s intrepid architects task the façade and roofing industry with unique aesthetic designs, but often such creativity results in building components that garner as much ice and snow as artistic acclaim in certain environments.  With our CFD computer approach and façade expertise, CDC is poised to address the most challenging façade designs in all types of geographical locations and winter conditions.

Direction of flow (vectors) illustrating cold-weather path around a typical building floor.

Variation of velocity contours illustrating cold-weather flow around an open-lattice framing.

Contoured surface mesh to closely simulate true component surface and obtain more accurate results.

Ice build-up on open-lattice framing must be addressed. Image above shows (in red) critical areas of ice formation on structure.