Airflow patterns in a laboratory batch-type, tray air dryer

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Tzempelikos, Dimitrios
Vouros, Alexandros
Bardakas, Achilleas
Filios, Andronikos
Margaris, Dionissios
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The batch-type dryer is one of the most popular equipment for fruit drying. However, the optimization of the air distribution inside the drying chamber remains a very important issue, due to its strong impact on efficient drying and uniformity of moisture content of products. A new scale laboratory batch-type, tray air dryer has been designed, constructed and evaluated for drying several horticultural and agricultural products. The flow field inside the dryer is studied through computational fluid dynamics (CFD). A three-dimensional model for laboratory dryer has been created and the steady state incompressible, Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations that formulate the flow problem are solved, incorporating standard and RNG k-ε turbulence models. The simulations are conducted for testing chamber average velocity of 2,9 m/s at ambient temperature. The CFD models are evaluated by comparing airflow patterns and velocity distributions to measured data. Numerical simulations and measurements convince that the new scale laboratory batch-type dryer is able to produce a sufficiently uniform air distribution throughout the testing chamber of the dryer.
Batch dryer, Airflow, Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), Simulation