World-Class Airport in the Middle East employs NEAPOLI’s tools to ensure thermal comfort

Qatar, one of the busiest hubs in the Middle-East, has recently embarked on a major expansion of its primary gateway, the Hamad International Airport in Doha. The ambitious project aims to increase the annual passenger capacity of the airport from 30 million to 60 million by 2022. Central to the design is a glazed concourse housing an enormous 10,000m² indoor tropical garden and 268m² water feature. The flora for the indoor tropical garden will be sourced from sustainable forests from around the world, and great parts of the roof will be constructed with performance glass that controls and filters light required for the flora’s natural growth. The design team has developed a column-free, long-span 85m grid shell roof with performance glass to control and filter the light required for the trees to acclimatise to the internal conditions of the terminal and grow throughout the life of the airport.

CFD Hamad Airport
Image: The air temperature and velocity distributions during the Airport’s operation were evaluated by  NEAPOLI’s CFD code NP-Climate.

A design like this pushes the boundaries of engineering, let alone in the extreme climate conditions in the Middle East with temperatures often reaching over 40 degrees celsius.  The challenge becomes obvious: with a large glazed roof how one can ensure that indoor climatic conditions will remain adequate for the indoor forest to thrive and comfortable for the millions of airport visitors? There are simply no reference projects facing identical conditions, and falling back on rules of thumb has considerable risk. For a project striving to become one of the world’s leading airports, this simply couldn’t be left to chance.  Due to the enormous number of variables and details impacting the indoor climatic conditions such as building materials, solar radiation, trees evapotranspiration and the high occupancy, it is impossible to use traditional calculation methods to predict thermal conditions and design the Air Conditioning and Ventilation (ACMV) system adequately.


CFD is the simulation of fluids engineering systems using modeling and numerical methods. The technique is very powerful and spans a wide range of areas, such as aerodynamics planes and vehicles, weather prediction, blood flows through arteries, dispersion of pollutants and effluents, as well as internal and external ventilation and cooling/heating in buildings. CFD has already been firmly established in the automotive, aerospace, and power generation sectors. Subsequently, it is spreading through the construction industry. NEAPOLI has, throughout the years, developed academically endorsed proprietary CFD tools, and has applied them on a wide variety of projects from Europe, to Asia and to Australia.  The process starts with the selection of the physics model and methodology to be applied for the specific project. Then a 3-dimensional virtual simulation model is constructed based on the actual construction details. The project’s unique parameters are then incorporated into the model; such as the glazing properties, insulation, ventilation parameters, the extreme climatic patterns, and the hundreds of trees all with various sizes. In this CFD simulation, cool air is introduced at the occupant level through the ventilation system, and all data points in the model are calculated and recorded. Thousands of numerical iterations are run until output results are reliable and statistically significant. The results are analysed by the design team in aspects such as humidity, temperature uniformity and draft risk. Then the team proposes improvements and the new improved design are tested again with CFD until the optimum design solution is identified.

Through the employment of CFD tools, the design team can rest assured that their design a world-class travel hub, major landmark in the region, is not only visually stunning but also addresses the comfort of its future passengers.  And as a passenger, what else would you want?



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