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Research Papers

Computational Heat Transfer Analysis of the Effect of Skirts on the Performance of Third-World Cookstoves

[+] Author and Article Information
Alex Wohlgemuth

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210

Sandip Mazumder1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210mazumder.2@osu.edu

Dale Andreatta

 SEA Limited, Columbus, OH 43085

1

Corresponding author.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 1(4), 041001 (May 17, 2010) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001483 History: Received June 07, 2009; Revised February 01, 2010; Published May 17, 2010; Online May 17, 2010

In many developing countries, natural gas, wood, or biomass fired cookstoves find prolific usage. Skirts, placed around the cookpot, have been proposed as a means to improve the thermal efficiency. However, use of skirts has shown conflicting results, and the role of skirts is poorly understood. In this study, a computational heat transfer analysis of a generic third-world cookstove is conducted with the goal to understand the effect of various skirt-related parameters on the overall heat transfer characteristics and thermal efficiency. A computational fluid dynamics model, including turbulence and heat transfer by all three modes, was created. The model was first validated against the experimental data, also collected as part of this study. Unknown parameters in the model were calibrated to better match the experimental observations. Subsequently, the model was explored to study the effects of several skirt-related parameters. These include the vertical position of the skirt, the width of the gap between the skirt and the cookpot, and the thermal conductivity of the skirt (insulating versus conducting material). The computational predictions suggest that the skirt must either be made out of an insulating material or insulated on the outer surface by a backing insulating layer for it to provide maximum benefits. It was also found that it must be placed at an optimum distance away from the cookpot and aligned with the mouth of the cookstove chimney for maximum thermal efficiency. An optimum set of conditions obtained through this computational analysis resulted in an increase in the thermal efficiency from 20.7% to 28.7%.

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Figures

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Figure 1

Experimental setup showing a typical cookstove configuration with typical dimensions

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Figure 2

Computer generated image of a cookstove assembly with a skirt around the pot

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Figure 3

Axisymmetric computer model used for CFD calculations showing the geometry and boundary conditions

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Figure 4

Mesh used for computational studies (typical case)

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Figure 5

Predicted distributions for the baseline case with a skirt placed 10 mm away from the pot: (a) flow (velocity vectors) and gauge pressure; (b) temperature

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Figure 6

Comparison of the measured (four different data sets) and predicted temperature distributions: (a) at bottom corner of the pot; (b) side of the pot

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Figure 7

Predicted temperature distributions for a 12.7 cm (5 in.) tall skirt whose bottom is 38.1 mm above mouth of chimney and placed (a) 5 mm, (b) 10 mm, and (c) 15 mm from the pot.

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Figure 8

Predicted heat flux distributions on the side of the pot: (a) without a skirt, and (b) for a 12.7 cm (5 in.) skirt with its bottom edge aligned at a distance of 38.1 mm from the mouth of the chimney and placed 10 mm from the pot. The x-axis represents the distance from the bottom of the pot.

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Figure 12

Predicted heat flux distributions on the side of the pot: (a) without a skirt, and (b) for a 16.51 cm (6.5 in.) insulated (with glass wool) steel skirt with its bottom edge aligned with the mouth of the chimney and placed 10 mm from pot. The x-axis represents the distance from the bottom of the pot.

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Figure 11

Predicted temperature distributions for a 16.51 cm (6.5 in.) tall skirt placed 10 mm from the pot, and whose bottom is aligned with mouth of the chimney. Different skirt materials were considered: (a) perfectly insulated skirt (b) steel skirt, and (c) steel skirt with glass wool insulation.

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Figure 10

Predicted heat flux distributions on the side of the pot: (a) without a skirt, and (b) for a 16.51 cm (6.5 in.) skirt with its bottom edge aligned with the mouth of the chimney and placed 10 mm from pot. The x-axis represents the distance from the bottom of the pot.

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Figure 9

Predicted temperature distributions for a 16.51 cm (6.5 in.) tall skirt whose bottom is aligned with mouth of the chimney and placed (a) 5 mm, (b) 10 mm, and (c) 15 mm from the pot.

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