Computational Fluid Dynamics, Turbulence Model (k-ε / k-ω), nonisothermal flow, free convection, forced convection, Peclet Number, Refrigerated Truck

Context / Goal

Heat transfer inside a refrigerated truck is a key phenomenon that governs the temperature within the cooled compartment. The design of an efficient air-cooling system as well as the choice of appropriate thermal insulation materials requires a thorough understanding of the aero-thermal configuration of the refrigerated box.

Therefore, Air Liquide, world leader in gases, technologies and services for industry and health, has asked SIMTEC to develop a numerical model with COMSOL Multiphysics®. The goal of this modeling work is to obtain the kinetics of the temperature field at each point at all times.


SIMTEC's Achievements / Results

The first mission of SIMTEC was to go to the site of AIR LIQUIDE to visualize the refrigerated truck, its cooling system and the experimental measuring protocol. The mission statement was decided together with the client, particularly to obtain an efficient solving strategy. This strategy aimed to develop a numerical model, which can compute easily the heat transfer inside the truck with COMSOL Multiphysics®.

This study consists of developing a CFD turbulent model, coupled with heat transfer (free and forced convection) with COMSOL Multiphysics®. k-ε and k-ω turbulent models have been tested. We retained the one simulating the closest flow to the one measured experimentally. Aero-thermal simulations have been carried out for two rear door configurations, closed or open, in order to describe periods of goods loading or unloading and periods of transport.

First, the model has been validated through experimental measurements and engineering techniques.


After validation of the model, an accurate study of heat transfer has been performed to analyze the heat exchange through each wall.

Therefore, this study enables optimization of the choice and thickness of thermal insulation of each wall.