Open refrigerated display cabinets (ORDCs) suffer alterations of their thermal behaviour and of its performance due to variations of ambient air conditions (air temperature, relative humidity and velocity magnitude and orientation). Some factors interfere and affect the re-circulated air curtain behaviour and thus the equipment’s overall thermal performance. Examples of these factors are the location of air conditioning system discharge grilles, air mass flows originated by pressure differences due to openings to surroundings, and ambient air flow instabilities due to consumers’ passage nearby the frontal opening of the display cabinet, among others. This work performs a three-dimensional (3D) Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling of air flow and heat transfer in an ORDC. The influence of ambient air velocity orientation in performance of the re-circulated air curtain is evaluated. A CFD parametric study is developed considering the ambient air orientation parallel, oblique and perpendicular to the frontal opening plane of the equipment. The 3D effects of ambient air velocity orientation are determined through the analysis of air temperature and velocity inside the equipment as well as along and across the air curtain. The longitudinal air flow oscillations and length extremity effects are analyzed, having a considerable influence in the overall thermal performance of the equipment. Experimental tests following EN-ISO Standard 23953 were conducted for climatic class 3 (Tamb = 25 °C, φamb = 60%) in order to characterize the phenomena near inlets, outlets and physical borders. Moreover, experimental data is used to prescribe boundary conditions as well as to validate numerical predictions of temperature and velocity distributions.

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