Department of Mechanical Engineering, State University of Santa Catarina Campus Universitrio Prof. Avelino Marcante, Joinville, 89219-710
Convective drying is the most common drying strategy used in timber manufacturing industries in the developing world. In convective drying, the reduction rate of the moisture content is directly affected by the flow topology in the inlet and exit plenums and the air flow velocity in the channels formed by timber layers.Turbulence, boundary layer separation, vortex formation and recirculation regions are flow features that are intrinsically associated with the kiln geometry, which in turn dictate the flow velocity across the timber stack and, ultimately, the drying rate. Within this framework, this work presents a numerical study of the effects of the plenum width and inlet flow velocity in a compact dry kiln aiming to establish design recommendations to ensure the highest possible level of flow uniformity across the lumber stack. The numerical solution of the mathematical model is obtained through the finite-volume based Ansys CFX R flow solver. Validation of the numerical approximation is performed by comparing numerical and experimental flow velocities for a scale model of a kiln available in the literature.