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Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Comparative Analysis of Different Configuration Domestic Refrigerators: A Computational Fluid Dynamics Approach

[+] Author and Article Information
Esmail M. A. Mokheimer

Professor
Mechanical Engineering Department,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: esmailm@kfupm.edu.sa

Yinka S. Sanusi

Mechanical Engineering Department,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: sanusi@kfupm.edu.sa

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received March 13, 2015; final manuscript received June 10, 2015; published online June 30, 2015. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 137(6), 062002 (Nov 01, 2015) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-15-1117; doi: 10.1115/1.4030848 History: Received March 13, 2015; Revised June 10, 2015; Online June 30, 2015

To reduce the tremendous increase in the energy consumption in the residential sector, there is a continuous need to improve the cooling efficiency and reduce running cost in domestic refrigerators. In this regard, three domestic refrigerator configurations have been considered. These configurations, namely, top mounted freezer (TMF), bottom mounted freezer (BMF), and side mounted freezer (SMF), were numerically simulated using ansys fluent 14 code. The refrigerators considered in this paper are air cooled by natural convection mechanism. For improved accuracy, piecewise polynomial function was used to obtain the temperature dependent specific heat capacity, while the discrete ordinate (DO) model was used to account for the radiation energy exchange between the refrigerator walls and cooling air. The effect of refrigerator opening and refrigerator load on the performance of the model refrigerators was also studied. Results show that cabinets that have the same relative position from the base (ground level) in TMF, BMF, and SMF configuration was observed to have similar cooling effectiveness irrespective of the compartment (i.e., freezer or fresh food). Load in the lowest parts of the model refrigerator consistently maintains the highest cooling effectiveness with about 15% more than their respective topmost cabinet. Thus, consumer preference of highly efficient compartment (either freezer or refrigerator) should be considered. After 300 min cooling time, the TMF and BMF cooling load are more than that of SMF by about 8%. This suggests that SMF with better cooling effectiveness will consume less energy and would have a lower running cost.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Model domestic refrigerators: (a) Empty model refrigerator (BMF), (b) loaded model refrigerator (TMF), and (c) loaded model refrigerator (SMF)

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Fig. 2

Comparison between experimental [20] and predicted temperature at 0.5 m height

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Fig. 3

Comparison between experimental [40] and predicted velocity (Uy) at 0.5 m height

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Fig. 4

Predicted temperature in empty cabinets of model refrigerators: (a) TMF, (b) BMF, and (c) SMF

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Fig. 5

Predicted cooling effectiveness in empty cabinets of model refrigerators: (a) TMF, (b) BMF, and (c) SMF

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Fig. 6

Predicted cooling effectiveness in empty cabinets of model refrigerator with simulated opening: (a) BMF, (b) TMF, and (c) SMF

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Fig. 7

Transient response averaged over different compartment of the model refrigerator. (a) Average compartment temperature and (b) average compartment cooling effectiveness.

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Fig. 8

Predicted cooling effectiveness of loaded model refrigerator: (a) TMF, (b) BMF, and (c) SMF

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Fig. 9

Predicted cooling effectiveness of the load (chicken) in model refrigerator: (a) BMF, (b) TMF, and (c) SMF

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Fig. 10

Predicted cooling load in model empty refrigerator: (a) freezer compactment, (b) fresh food compactment, and (c) total cooling load

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Fig. 11

Predicted cooling load in model refrigerator with chicken load: (a) freezer compactment, (b) fresh food compactment, and (c) total cooling load

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