Dangerous goods are transported as air freight in commercial aircrafts. Using plastic jerrycans or plastic containers, liquids or gases can escape by leakage or permeation effects. Prior research by the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) showed that the lower explosion limit can be reached when transporting dangerous goods in sea-freight containers under normal transportation situations. This motivated the presented study of the transportation situation of dangerous goods in cargo compartments of commercial airplanes. The scope of this paper is to present the experimental method used for validating a numerical model for CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations. The CFD model will be used in a future study to evaluate the potential risk from transporting dangerous goods.

The objective of this paper is to present the model mock-up of an aircraft cargo compartment and some examples of three dimensional velocity profiles of the air flow in the mock-up. The velocity profiles are calculated using numerical simulations and measured by Laser-Doppler-Anemometry (LDA) experiments. The mock-up is a generic model of a wide-body aircraft lower deck cargo compartment in a 1:10 scale. Geometry, air exchange rates and inlet as well as outlet flow conditions in the cargo compartment are modeled using realistic boundary conditions. The commercial CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) code ANSYS CFX 14 is used for numerical flow simulations applying RANS (Reynolds-Averaged-Navier-Stokes) equations and turbulence models. The turbulence models studied are the renormalization group k-ε-model (RNG), the Reynolds-Stress model by Launder, Reece and Rodi (LRR) and the SST-k-ω-model by Menter (SST).

The flow measurement with LDA in the mock-up of a cargo compartment proves to be a feasible method for producing data to validate CFD simulations. Qualitative evaluation of the results shows a good overall agreement between numerical and experimental results. The experimental validation indicates that the implemented CFD model is capable of reproducing the flow situation in the model mock-up.

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