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Transient natural ventilation of a room with a distributed heat source

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2007

BP Institute for Multiphase flow, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB3 0EZ, UK
BP Institute for Multiphase flow, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB3 0EZ, UK


We report on an experimental and theoretical study of the transient flows which develop as a naturally ventilated room adjusts from one temperature to another. We focus on a room heated from below by a uniform heat source, with both high- and low-level ventilation openings. Depending on the initial temperature of the room relative to (i) the final equilibrium temperature and (ii) the exterior temperature, three different modes of ventilation may develop. First, if the room temperature lies between the exterior and the equilibrium temperature, the interior remains well-mixed and gradually heats up to the equilibrium temperature. Secondly, if the room is initially warmer than the equilibrium temperature, then a thermal stratification develops in which the upper layer of originally hot air is displaced upwards by a lower layer of relatively cool inflowing air. At the interface, some mixing occurs owing to the effects of penetrative convection. Thirdly, if the room is initially cooler than the exterior, then on opening the vents, the original air is displaced downwards and a layer of ambient air deepens from above. As this lower layer drains, it is eventually heated to the ambient temperature, and is then able to mix into the overlying layer of external air, and the room becomes well-mixed. For each case, we present new laboratory experiments and compare these with some new quantitative models of the transient flows. We conclude by considering the implications of our work for natural ventilation of large auditoria.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2007

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