About one year ago, PBBL Law Offices in Las Vegas/Orlando approached UberCloud and Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics asking for HPC support in a lawsuit dealing with a twin tower residential condominium. An extensive expert investigation established exterior plaster failure, water intrusion at improper window and roof installations, and high interior humidity levels with apparent biological growth (ABG) observed on interior walls, baseboards and between layers of interior gypsum board at unit partitions. Mechanical testing determined that condominium unit interiors were often under negative pressure, drawing in high-humidity, un-conditioned exterior air. A mechanical engineering evaluation found that the air conditioning units (serving each condominium) were improperly sized to adequately manage humidity.
It was proffered by competing experts that defective exterior plaster was a cause of the high humidity conditions. Exterior plaster failure included blistering of the coating system and saponification of the coating and substrate. Moreover, these experts opined that the existing mechanical system for each condominium unit was adequate to handle the dehumidification such that the ABG was caused by the moisture intrusion through the exterior wall system. Their opinion was that the negative air pressure was acceptable for 15/20 story towers.
Because of these competing opinions and the inability to field test the experts’ hypotheses, PBBL Law, for the first time in their history, chose HPC modelling to determine whether damage was caused by moisture transfer through the plaster coated exterior walls or that it was the result of negative pressure in the living units. Also, by advancing the modelling, HPC was used to determine the effect of the negative pressure and high humidity in the condominium living environment if left unmitigated.
For the CFD parameter study, the Microsoft Azure DS14 compute instances with 16 cores were chosen, and set to run 8 simulations at the same time. Because parameter studies consist of independent simulations we were be able to run 16 simulations in parallel on two DS14, or 32 simulations on four DS14, thus reducing the total simulation time from more than one month on the user’s workstation to less than two days in the Microsoft Azure Cloud!
Read in THIS HPCwire ARTICLE how the project team consisting of the end-users David Pursiano and Robert Simon from PBBL Law Offices, the software and expertise providers Florian Antretter and Matthias Pazold from Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, and the HPC Cloud expert Baris Inaloz from UberCloud, tackled this CFD problem and helped PBBL Law in court to prove their client’s case.