Ventus Introduction

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Created with software version: 2023.1

Ventus is a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the CONTAM network model developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). CONTAM is used for analysis of smoke control systems that rely on pressurization. The ASHRAE Handbook of Smoke Control Engineering, Chapter 14, provides background information on using CONTAM to model smoke control systems.

In Ventus the user works with the actual geometry. As a result, Ventus can calculate flow path areas, removing the tedious work of manually specifying multipliers. The user can create the model by sketching on a background image or importing CAD files. Critically, the ability to simultaneously view the model and the corresponding design drawing helps the user build accurate models quickly.

Floor 1, Overview
Figure 1. The user draws zones and flow paths directly over an image or CAD model. It is possible to immediately verify that the geometry and paths are correct.
Floor 1, Plan view
Figure 2. Top view showing a model drawn directly on the floor plan.

Refer to the Ventus User Manual for detailed descriptions of the user interface. The main components of the interface are shown below.

Ventus UI Annotated
Figure 3. Components of the Ventus User Interface.

You will use different views (3D Perspective, Top, Front, Side) and different navigation tools (Select/Edit Objects, 3D Orbit Navigation, and Roam) to work with the model.

When the Select/Edit Objects tool is active:
  • a left click selects,
  • a right click spins,
  • the scroll wheel zooms, and
  • pressing the scroll wheel pans.
When the Orbit tool is active:
  • a left click and drag rotates the model,
  • the scroll wheel zooms,
  • a left click + SHIFT will pan, and
  • a left click + ALT will zoom.

The Roam mode allows the camera to move in and out of the model at will. It has several modes as described in the user manual. Press and release the middle mouse button to enter the mouse-only mode.

In Roam mode:
  • moving the mouse will look around,
  • pressing and dragging the left mouse button will move the camera in the XY plane,
  • doing the same with the middle mouse button will cause the camera to move forward/backward in the XY plane, and
  • pressing and dragging the right mouse button will move the camera along the Z axis.

To exit mouse-only mode, press and release the middle mouse button again or press ESC on the keyboard.

It is usually best to click Reset All immediately after switching modes.