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Experimental characterization and modeling of airflow and heat transfer in a closed refrigerated display cabinet

Abstract : The use of closed refrigerated display cabinets in supermarkets has been increased steadily because of the potential energy savings compared to open ones. This growing trend has contributed to the necessity to expand research in the field of retail refrigeration. Most studies in literature, however, focused on the improvements of energy efficiency after door installation while studies on the mechanism of heat transfer and airflow within closed display cabinets are still limited. In fact, the airflow pattern influences the heat exchange between air and products, thus, product temperature. This PhD thesis aims to gain an insight into the mechanism of airflow and heat transfer in closed refrigerated display cabinets by the implementation of experimental and numerical approaches.Experimental investigations were conducted in a closed refrigerated display cabinet (an integral type with a single band air curtain and two double-glazing doors) located in a controlled-temperature test room. Air/product temperatures and air velocity are the main parameters taken into investigations. Eighty calibrated thermocouples distributed throughout the cabinet made it possible to observe the spatial and temporal evolutions of the air and product temperatures under different operating conditions. These conditions were ambient air temperature (15, 19, 24 and 29 °C), product-occupied volume (unloaded, half-loaded and full-loaded with test packages made of methylcellulose), door-opening frequency (0 - permanently closed, 10, 20, 40, 60 Openings Per Hour - OPH) and opening duration (15s and 30s). An automatic door opening system was developed and allowed to apply the opening regime as prescribed in the standard test (EN ISO 23953-2, 2015). The experiment was also conducted in an open configuration of the cabinet (doors were completely removed) to determine the benefits of the doors on the temperature performance. The results showed that when the doors were permanently closed, the temperature distribution in the cabinet was similar whatever the ambient temperatures and occupied-volume percentages – the highest temperature position at the front-top shelf and the lowest temperature position at the rear-bottom shelf. The temperature distribution changed when the doors were periodically or permanently open – the front of the middle shelf became the highest temperature position while the lowest temperature position remained at the rear-bottom shelf. However, the air and product temperatures in the cabinet with doors remained lower despite a very high door-opening frequency (i.e. 60 OPH, product temperatures at least 1.0 °C lower), compared to the case without doors.Air velocity measurement using a hot-wire anemometer at the front of the cabinet from the discharge to the return air grilles allowed to observe the shape of the air curtain, while the measurement in the rear duct allowed to quantify the air flow distribution over the perforated back panel of different shelves. The use of a Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) technique allowed the characterization of the air curtain with higher spatial resolution and accuracy. The result showed a zone of air recirculation at the upper part of the cabinet where warm ambient air infiltration through the door gaps was also observed, leading to an increase in the air curtain temperature. A 2D-CFD k-ε turbulence model was developed to reproduce the main flow phenomena observed by PIV so that its influence on the internal temperature distribution can be examined.Finally, a simplified heat transfer model was developed based on a zonal approach in both static and dynamic regimes which permits, respectively, the predictions of time-averaged air and product temperatures and temperature fluctuations according to the on/off cycle of the compressor regulation. The dynamic model was solved with a spectral approach, thus the influence of different parameters on the damping of the temperature fluctuations can be identified.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 9, 2019 - 5:14:08 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 2:38:11 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 11:00:14 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-02400947, version 1


Nattawut Chaomuang. Experimental characterization and modeling of airflow and heat transfer in a closed refrigerated display cabinet. Chemical and Process Engineering. Institut agronomique, vétérinaire et forestier de France, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019IAVF0017⟩. ⟨tel-02400947⟩



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