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A Simulation Study of Natural Convection Airflow Pattern for a Phase Change Material Chamber

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Document pages: 8 pages

Abstract: South Africa is the highest consumer of commercial energy per capita in Africa, ranking 16th in the world for primary energy consumption. It is also ranked among the bottom 50 of the 150 countries regarding energy efficiency, the cold chain is a large contributor. Refrigerated transport vehicles have played a major role in preserving goods over the years. With the current climate change, new refrigeration systems have been put in place to sustain this industry while complying with the changing climate regulations. This paper presents the use of Eutectic plates inside the refrigerated transport vehicle compartment. This study numerically investigates the characteristics of phase change material (PCM) Eutectic plates applied at low-temperature ranges. To obtain a uniform heat transfer and airflow condition inside a refrigerated compartment, using the Reynolds stress model (RSM). A physical model and a mathematical model for three-dimensional (3D) transient natural flow were developed. Using the governing equation of mass, momentum and energy conservation, three Eutectic plate configurations were modeled and simulated in ANSYS Fluent to predict the temperature distribution and the velocity of the air flowing for 5 hours. The configuration with eutectic plates placed at the top and side showed great potential for the system. It had a high-temperature distribution across the compartment and promoted high air circulations compared to the other configurations.

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