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Climate behavior of a rabbit barn in Central Mexico by using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131617903,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Jorge Flores-Velázquez, Federico Villarreal-Guerrero, José Luis Lara-Mireles, Juan Ignacio Montero, Fernando Rojano
Keywords:   Temperature profile turbulence gradient climate management nitrogen levels natural ventilation.

Abstract. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a numerical analysis that combined with experimentation, provides robust results regarding the description of wind dynamics. Since wind dynamics is one of the main factors in heat and mass transfer for biosystems, it is possible to infer about the behavior of gases like water vapor and ammonia distribution in the air. By using the CFD techniques, the objective of this study was to describe the effect of the natural ventilation system on the inside climatic conditions of a rabbit barn, typical of Central Mexico region. This type of production systems experience critical environmental conditions during the periods of time with high insolation, which produces high temperatures and a reduction of the relative humidity; consequently, increasing the ammonia concentration. High concentrations of ammonia increase the dead rate of rabbits. An efficient ventilation system would be capable of keeping adequate levels of temperature, relative humidity and ammonia by producing a ventilation rate higher than 20 Vol h-1. The farm is located at the Autonomous University of Chapingo, Mexico, with dimensions of 24x4.8x6.5m (length x width x height) and had a population density of 20 rabbits m-2. A climate monitoring system including radiation, air temperature, soil temperature, and wind speed and direction sensors, was installed during summer of 2012 to validate the model of this study. Additionally, a weather station was continuously monitoring outside climatic conditions. Results showed a drastic reduction in the ventilation rate as a function of wind direction, being 5 kg s-1 if it was normal to side vents and 0.004 kg s-1 if it was parallel to them. Consequently, higher concentrations of ammonia were registered under the second scenario, which highlights the importance of the orientation and dimensions of the farm on the rabbit production.

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