Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Degree Level



Mechanical Engineering


Darin Nutter

Committee Member

Rick Couvillion

Second Committee Member

Larry Roe


Air Exchange, Air Movement, HVAC Systems, Modeling, Stairs, Thermal Comfort, Thermal Loads


The air exchange between two floors of a building has an impact on thermal comfort. The present research attempts to quantify this impact and identify the contributing factors disrupting the thermal comfort on and around stairs. Various heating and cooling scenarios were analyzed, using CFD modeling, in a simple two-story building separated by a single staircase. The research examines a single building layout with a fixed inlet and outlet configuration. In addition, the study investigated the short-term impact on thermal comfort. As a result, the duration of the simulations varies from two and half minutes to ten minutes, consistent with the typical cycling of unitary air-conditioning equipment. The main parameters of interest were the air temperature, air velocity, and the thermal comfort parameter Predicted Mean Vote (PMV). In both cooling and heating scenarios, the influence of the upper room and staircase had a negative impact on both the thermal comfort and energy usage in the building. The largest impact was seen during the heating scenario simulations. During the ten-minute heating simulations, the main area of the building saw a 2.12-2.79 °C drop in air temperature, along with PMV values of below -1.7.