Numerical and experimental study of confluent jets supply device with variable airflow
Abstract: In recent years, application of confluent jets for design of ventilation supply devices has been studied. Similarly, numerus studies have been made on the potential and application of variable air volume (VAV) in order to reduce the energy demand of ventilation systems. This study investigates the combination of supply devices based on confluent jets and VAV, both in terms of the nearfield flow behavior of the device and the impact on thermal comfort, indoor air quality and energy efficiency on a classroom-level space when the airflow rate is varied.The method used in this study is an experimental field study where the confluent jets-based supply devices were compared to the previously installed displacement ventilation. The field study evaluated the energy efficiency, thermal comfort and indoor air quality of the two systems. In the case of the confluent jets supply devices, airflow rate was varied in order to see what impact the variation had on the performance of the system for each airflow rate. Furthermore, the confluent jets supply devices were investigated both experimentally and numerically in a well insulated test room to get high resolution data on the particular flow characteristics for this type of supply device when the airflow rate is varied. The results from the field study show nearly uniform distribution of the local mean age of air in the occupied zone, even in the cases of relatively low airflow rates. The airflow rates have no significant effect on the degree of mixing. The thermal comfort in the classroom was increased when the airflow rate was adapted to the heat load compared to the displacement system. The results lead to the conclusion that the combination of supply devices based on confluent jets can reduce energy usage in the school while maintaining indoor air quality and increasing the thermal comfort in the occupied zone.The results from the experimental and numerical study show that the flow pattern and velocity in each nozzle is directly dependent on the total airflow rate. However, the flow pattern does not vary between the three different airflow rates. The numerical investigation shows that velocity profiles for each nozzle have the same pattern regardless of the airflow rate, but the magnitude of the velocity profile increases as the airflow increases. Thus, a supply device of this kind could be used for variable air volume and produce confluent jets for different airflow rates.The results from both studies show that the airflow rate does not affect the distribution of the airflow on both near-field and room level. The distribution of air is nearly uniform in the case of the near-field results and the room-level measurement shows a completely uniform degree of mixing and air quality in the occupied zone for each airflow rate. This means that there is potential for combining these two schemes for designing air distribution systems with high energy efficiency and high thermal comfort and indoor air quality.
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