A Polyethylene Chamber for Use in Physical Modelling of the Heat Exchange on Surfaces Exposed to a Radiation Regime.

  • Okada, M., M. Okada and H. Kusaka, 2014: A Polyethylene Chamber for Use in Physical Modelling of the Heat Exchange on Surfaces Exposed to a Radiation Regime. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 153(2), 305-325. 2014/06/12(Acknowledgement: RECCA) .

Bodies located in outdoor environments are radiatively heated in the daytime and cooled at night. Convective heat transfer is subsequently activated between the body surface and the surrounding air. To investigate these heat-exchange processes, we developed a new apparatus, referred to as a “polyethylene chamber”, for use in physical model experiments. The chamber is a 1.51-m-long tube with the ends serving as the air inlet and outlet, and is ventilated in the longitudinal direction by using an exhaust fan. The measurement section of the chamber is open but otherwise the device is covered with 0.02-mm-thick polyethylene film. Because such thin polyethylene film transmits approximately 85 % of both shortwave and longwave radiation, the model surface in the chamber is exposed to a radiation level almost equivalent to the outdoor radiation level. For example, at night the surface of the model is cooled by radiation, and subsequently, the air inside the chamber is cooled by the surface. Consequently, the outlet air temperature becomes lower than the inlet air temperature. The use of this temperature difference between the air inlet and outlet, together with other heat balance components, is a unique approach to the chamber technique for evaluating the heat exchange rate at a model’s surface. This report describes the design and heat balance of the chamber, and compares the heat-balance-based approach with another approach based on the radiation–convection balance on the model surface. To demonstrate the performance of the polyethylene chamber, two chambers were exposed to outdoor radiation on a clear night; one contained a leaf model. Air and surface temperatures were measured and the convective heat flux at the surfaces of the model and floor surface were calculated from the heat balance components of the chambers by assuming steady-state heat transfer. The fluxes agreed closely with those obtained from the radiation–convection balance at the model or floor surface. The results also clearly showed that the air flowing in the polyethylene chamber was cooled more efficiently when the model surface was installed in the chamber, even though the model surface temperature was high.

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