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Research Papers

Effects of an Air Curtain on the Temperature Distribution in Refrigerated Vehicles Under a Hot Climate Condition

[+] Author and Article Information
Lin Cong

Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage,
School of Chemical Engineering,
University of Birmingham,
Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
e-mail: lxc330@student.bham.ac.uk

Qinghua Yu

Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage,
School of Chemical Engineering,
University of Birmingham,
Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
e-mail: Q.Yu@bham.ac.uk

Geng Qiao

Global Energy Interconnection Research Institute Europe GmbH,
Kantstraße 162,
Berlin 10623, Germany
e-mail: Geng.qiao@geiri.eu

Yongliang Li

Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage,
School of Chemical Engineering,
University of Birmingham,
Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
e-mail: y.li.1@bham.ac.uk

Yulong Ding

Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage,
School of Chemical Engineering,
University of Birmingham,
Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
e-mail: y.ding@bham.ac.uk

1Corresponding authors.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications. Manuscript received December 7, 2018; final manuscript received March 27, 2019; published online May 14, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Amir Jokar.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 11(6), 061010 (May 14, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: TSEA-18-1652; doi: 10.1115/1.4043467 History: Received December 07, 2018; Accepted March 27, 2019

Refrigerated vehicle plays an essential role in the cold-chain applications. It directly affects the quality and shelf life of specialized perishable goods. However, the cold energy dissipation caused by natural convection through an open door during partial unloading breaks the isothermal cold environment and notably elevates the air temperature inside the refrigerated container. This temperature rise is harmful to the remaining food. In this study, an air curtain was introduced near the container doorway to attempt to reduce the cold energy dissipation caused by partial unloading. A numerical model was established to explore the effects of the key parameters of the air curtain such as the airflow rate, nozzle width, and jet angle on the air flow and temperature evolution inside the refrigerated container after the door is opened. The numerical results show that the key parameters need to be tailored to form a stable and effective air curtain for preventing the internal cold energy loss or external hot air invasion. An effective and stable air curtain was formed to make the inner air temperature increase only by about 3 °C from the initial temperature of 5 °C after the door was opened, when the jet velocity was set to 2 m/s, the nozzle width was set as 7.5 cm, and the jet angle was set between 0 deg and 15 deg. This work can offer significant guidance for the introduction of an effective air curtain in a refrigerated vehicle to avoid the failure of cold-chain transportation.

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References

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the refrigerated vehicle and container (sectional view) with an air curtain

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Fig. 2

The computational domain, grids, and the position of the monitored points marked by ⊕

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Fig. 3

(a) Validation of the present numerical model with results reported by Juárez et al. [19] and (b) comparison of the average air temperature in the container between 2D and 3D simulations

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Fig. 4

The temperature and velocity distribution at 3 s, 30 s, and 60 s after the door is opened when the air jet velocity of air curtain is (a) 0 m/s, (b) 1 m/s, (c) 2 m/s, and (d) 4 m/s

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Fig. 5

The temperature evolution within 1 min after the door is opened with different air jet velocities (v): (a) the average air temperature inside the container, (b) the temperature of the monitoring point at the air–goods interface, (c) and (d) the temperatures outside the container at Point 2 and Point 3, respectively

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Fig. 6

Variation of the average air temperature in the container with the Reynolds number at 60 s after opening of door

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Fig. 7

The temperature and velocity distribution (3 s, 30 s, and 60 s) when the nozzle widths of the air curtain are (a) 1 cm, (b) 5 cm, and (c) 10 cm, respectively

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Fig. 8

The temperature evolution within 1 min after the door is opened with different nozzle widths: (a) the average air temperature inside the container, (b) the temperature of the monitoring point at the air–goods interface, and (c) the temperature of monitoring point 3 outside the container

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Fig. 9

Variation of the average air temperature in the container with relative nozzle width (W/H) at 60 s after opening of door

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Fig. 10

The temperature and velocity distribution (3 s, 30 s, and 60 s) when the jet angles of the air curtain are (a) −15 deg, (b) 0 deg, (c) 15 deg, and (d) 30 deg, respectively

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Fig. 11

The temperature evolution within 1 min after the door is opened with different jet angles: (a) the average air temperature inside the container, (b) the temperature of the monitoring point at the air–goods interface, and (c) the temperature of monitoring point 3 outside the container

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