Commenced in January 2007
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Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Airflow inside a Car Cabin

Authors: Mokhtar Djeddou, Amine Mehel, Georges Fokoua, Anne Tanière, Patrick Chevrier

Abstract:

Commuters’ exposure to air pollution, particularly to particle matter inside vehicles, is a significant health issue. Assessing particle concentrations and characterizing their distribution is an important first step in understanding and proposing solutions to improve car cabin air quality. It is known that particle dynamics is intimately driven by particle-turbulence interactions. In order to analyze and model pollutants distribution inside car cabins, it is crucial to examine first the single-phase flow topology and its associated turbulence characteristics. Within this context, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations were conducted to model airflow inside a full-scale car cabin using Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) approach combined with the first order Realizable k-ε model to close the RANS equations. To assess the numerical model, a campaign of velocity field measurements at different locations in the front and back of the car cabin has been carried out using hot-wire anemometry technique. Comparison between numerical and experimental results shows a good agreement of velocity profiles. Additionally, visualization of streamlines shows the formation of jet flow developing out of the dashboard air vents and the formation of large vortex structures, particularly between the front and back-seat compartments. These vortical structures could play a key role in the accumulation and clustering of particles in a turbulent flow.

Keywords: Car cabin, CFD, hot-wire anemometry, vortical flow.

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