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Chinese study with cherry tomato boxes

Air circulation within a refrigerated container greatly affects vegetables

Proper cooling capacity division is essential for storing and transporting fruit and vegetables in refrigerated containers. A uniform interior temperature depends mainly on the outside temperature and the internal air circulation. Air gaps between the produce stacks and the container's inner wall can disrupt internal airflow. That is detrimental to cooling performance, Chinese research shows.

The Chinese scientists developed a research model for this. It is based on numerical fluid dynamics and CFD modeling. It combines theoretical data with numerical simulations. Using this method, they can determine and verify things like flow resistance coefficients.

In the study, they observed a load of cherry tomatoes in a refrigerated container. The tomatoes were stored in cardboard boxes. These were stacked 16 high inside the container. The cold air inlet was located at the container's front, at the bottom.

Each box of cherry tomatoes has multiple ventilation lateral holes. The researchers made an extra hole in the bottom of the box. That was to reduce vertical airflow resistance. They also designed three baffles that blocked the irregular airflow in the air gaps. That reduced the cold airstreams' performance loss.

The modified refrigerated container showed a more even distribution of cold airflow. There was an improved vertical airflow rate in the boxes of cherry too. And the cooling performance was better.

The scientists showed that cooling times could be reduced by almost 23%. That is for a +/- 1°C temperature distribution variation. The relative temperature rise also decreases by 34%, to 59.5%. It seems the proposed structure can be used for several types of fruits and vegetables.

You can find more information in this article: 'Analysis of an internal structure for refrigerated container: Improving distribution of cooling capacity' in the International Journal of Refrigeration.

Source: RCC K&L

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