CFD as a tool for analysis of complex geometry : Perspectives on time efficient simulations of interior household appliance components

Abstract: Throughout recent years, computer based programs has been applied to solve and analyze industrial problems. One of these developed programs is the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) program. The purpose of implementing CFD analysis is to solve complex flow behavior which is not possible with ordinary calculus. The extensive application of CFD in the industry is a result of improved commercial CFD codes  in terms of more advance partial differential equations (PDE) describing various physical phenomena, CAD and mesh-grid generating tools and improved graphical user interfaces (GUI). Today, CFD usage has extended to fields such as aerodynamic, chemical process engineering, biomedical engineering and drying technology. As there is an on-going expansion of CFD usages in the industry, certain issues need to be addressed as they are frequently encountered. The general demand for simulation of larger control volumes and more advanced flow processes result in extensive requirement of computer resources. Numerous complex flow topics today require computer cluster networks which are not accessible for every company. The second issue is the implementation of commercial CFD codes in minor industrial companies is utilized as a black box based on the knowledge on fluid mechanic theory. A vital part of the simulation process is the evaluation of data through visual analysis of flow patterns, analysis on the sensitivity of the mesh grid, investigation of quantitative parameters such as pressure loss, velocity, turbulence intensity etc. Moreover, increased partnerships between industry and the academic world involving various CFD based design processes generally yields to a verbal communication interface which is a crucial step in the process given the fact of the level of dependency between both sides. The aim of this thesis is to present methods of CFD analysis based on these issues. In paper I, a heuristically determined design process of the geometry near the front trap door of an internal duct system was achieved by implementing the CFD code COMSOL MultiPhysics as a communication tool. The design process was established by two counterparts in the project in which CFD calculations and geometry modifications were conducted separately. Two design criteria presenting the pressure drop in duct and the outflow uniformity was used to assess geometry modifications conducted by a CAD-engineer. The geometry modifications were based on visual results of the flow patterns. The geometry modifications confirmed an improvement in the geometry as the pressure drop was reduced with 23% and the uniformity was increased with 3%. In paper II, volume-averaged equations were implemented in a tube-fin heat exchanger in order to simulate airflow. Focus was on achieving a correct volume flow rate and pressure drop (V-p) correlation. The volume averaged model (VAM) is regarded as a porous medium in which the arrangement of fins and tube bundles are replaced with volume-averaged equations. Hence, the computational time was reduced significantly for the VAM model. Moreover, experimental results of the (V-p) correlation showed good agreement with the VAM model.