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Computational Fluid Dynamics Model for Air Velocity through a Poultry Transport Trailer in a Holding Shed

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

Citation:  10th International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES X)  .(doi:10.13031/iles.18-005)
Authors:   Christian . L Heymsfield, Yi Liang, Thomas A. Costello
Keywords:   CFD, Poultry Transportation, Poultry Welfare, Air Velocity


The configuration of cooling systems in commercial holding sheds, where live broilers wait for slaughter, varies between processing plants, with cooling system efficacies largely unknown. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was developed to simulate airflow through cage modules in a poultry trailer in a typical holding shed configuration. Two alternative design configurations were simulated in order to improve the air velocity profiles for better cooling performance. Experimental data were collected within modules in a poultry trailer, parked in an existing commercial holding shed during warm summer conditions. Results from the CFD model had reasonable agreement with measured field data. Simulated air velocities were mostly within one standard deviation of measured values. Simulation of airflow through modules in the original configuration showed that less than 20% of air mass flow from the fans actually travelled through the bird-occupied space. Module tiers experienced different amount of airflow penetration due to the ad hoc positioning/alignment of the fans relative to the modules. In the original industry configuration, fans were in fixed positions and the number of fans and their centerline discharge axes did not align with the modules on the trailer. Regions not aligned with the faces of the fans, such as the uppermost and bottommost tiers, and horizontal locations offset from the fans, received the least airflow through the modules. Sections of modules experienced lower air velocity with increasing distance from the fans. Simulation of one design alternative (which added additional fans so that a fan was centered on each row) indicated an improved fan airflow that moved through the cage of 3.08 kg/s and 3.05 kg/s, compared to 1.52 kg/s and 2.15 kg/s used in the original design. The increased air velocity using the alternative design illustrates the potential improvement in cooling. This research showed that a CFD model is an effective tool to simulate conditions on poultry trailers in holding sheds to explore various holding shed cooling configurations and strategies.

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