3D framework combining CFD and MATLAB techniques for plume source localization research

Mohamed Awadalla, Tien Fu Lu, Zhao Tian, Bassam Dally, Zhenzhang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Sudden release of chemical gas in indoor environments such as office like buildings or industrial warehouses could become hazardous. This has highlighted the need to localize the source of contaminant in least time possible using plume-tracing mobile robots. A simulation framework is outlined for developing, optimizing and testing plume-tracing algorithm in a complex environment. In the first part of the framework, fluid flow process and contaminant transport in a virtual environment is generated by dedicated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software packages. In the second part of the framework, the exported data of airflow vectors and contaminant concentration from the CFD results is used for the robot to find the source of the contaminant in a three-dimensional search pattern. The virtual robot is built using an in house developed MATLAB code. Several case studies have been addressed at the same complex environment, however at different source locations and source heights as well as at different initial robot start positions. Based on the results, the paper shows the capability of the 3D plume-tracing framework to find the location of the source for strong 3D indoor plumes when tested at different cases. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalBuilding and Environment
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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