# Air Curtains

10.4.2.1 General

When it is necessary to confine an air volume from the ambient environ­ment and simultaneously have access for operators or machinery, plane air jets offer a possible and simple solution. Air jets (plane and round) are described in Chapter 7. This section describes plane air jets combined with exhaust openings. In principle, they are similar to the air jets described in Chapter 7 and Section 10.3, but the combination with an exhaust opening makes it nec­essary to consider the influence of the exhaust on the jet. Usually these cur­tains are used in large doors to shield the interior from the exterior when the door is open. For example, experimental results have shown that from the mo­ment a door is opened, a short time interval, less than 1 minute, is sufficient to get complete development of the airflow through the door.1 An air curtain al­lows a reduction of the overall flow through the door. The principles and use of air currains are described in many textbooks.2-6 Some basics of air curtains are described here.

10.4.2.2 Principle

When using air curtains the edge effects are neglected and the flow is treated as two-dimensional. The different parts of a two-dimensional jet are sketched in Fig. 10.63.

The theory for plane jets is similar to descriptions of circular jets (see Sec­tion 7.4) and many derived equations describe both two-dimensional (plane) and three-dimensional (round) jets. The principle is to generate such high air velocity that a shield against pressure difference, temperature difference, and wind velocity is sustained. However, it is not possible to have complete separa­tion by an air curtain. The main reason for this, is that the jet entrains air

 Inlet Area

 ] area (2-6 D)

 II area (6-8 D)

 Transitory

 «2 ‘"*4-… Ur

 Fully developed flow’s area

 III area As far as UOd

I

 Final area (big scale turbulence)

 IV area (0.25 m s"1)

FIGURE 10.63 Plane air jet’s outline and development.

(from both sides) along its way and this entrained air is mixed inside the jet and transported together with the original supplied air. Other reasons are the extremely high velocities needed to stop oncoming high wind velocities and the transport of air through the curtain when vehicles or persons pass through the curtain.

10.4.2.3 Applicability of Sources

There are numerous possible applications for air curtains. For example, air curtains may be used to heat a body of linear dimensions (as used to move the fresh snow from the railway exchanges in Canada); to function as a parti­tion between two parts of one volume; to function as a partition between an internal room and an external environment, that have different thermody­namic properties; and to shield an opening in a small working volume (see Section 10.4.6).

10.4.2.4 Different Forms

When used as an air curtain, the flow of the linear jet is blown across a doorway and an exhaust opening pulls the air. The supply air of the air curtain for a door could be either cold or warm, either placed on the in­side or the outside, either blowing horizontally or vertically, and either blowing parallel to the opening or at a slight angle to the opening. Usually the curtain has an exhaust opening placed on the other side of the open­ing. This exhausted air could be circulated back to the supply opening or just transported away. All these alternatives mean that there are innumer­able possible configurations for an air curtain. Some of these are shown in the following figures.

 Outlet plenum

 CHAPTER 10 LOCAL VENTILATION Silencer

Doorway

 Silencer

Profile

Indoor

Outdoor

Air curtain System

Doorway

FIGURE 10.64 (a) Jet opening opposite to exhaust grill, (b) Jet opening adjacent to exhaust grill.

A jet blowing vertically downward, with the pull flow downward and up­ward, is shown in Figs. 10.64a and 10.646, respectively.

Air curtains with the jet vertically upward are shown in Fig. 10.65. The configurations differ in the internal or external placement of the air-handling

TABLE 10.10 Geometrical Parameters Describing an Air Curtain and Influencing Its Performance

I; H i Width and height of doorway a; I,, Initial width and length of linear jet

S] Thickness of the wall that delimits the surface of passage (doorway

Sy Distance between the axis of the initial section of the linear jet air curtain

Blade and the surface of the wall that delimits the doorway R; L, Thickness and width of the exhaust opening ct| Angle between the axis of the jet and the vertical one

A, Angle of divergence of the jet

H, Length of longitudal development of the jet

L; Distance between the surface of symmetry of the jet and the neighboring wall

Hi Height of the inside

Ss Distance between the axis of the opening of the supply device and the axis of

The grill

TABLE 10.11 Physical Parameters Influencing an Air Curtain

R Opening time of doorway

V Axial velocity of the jet

V: Velocity of the air outside normal to the symmetry surface of the linear jer

T, — Te Temperature difference between inside and outside

Tc Outside temperature

Tr Initial temperature of the jet

Pi Inside pressure

Pe Outside pressure

Pi Inside air density

Fie Outside air density

10.4.2.6 Theoretical Model and Experimental Researches

The influence of the geometrical parameters is not well described in the literature and the design of an air curtain is based on theoretical models of a plane turbulent jet.

One very good description is by Schlichting.7 Assuming both constant momentum and angle divergence of the jet, the velocity profiles are given by

U = ^ (1 — tanh2Tj) (10.81)

And

 X A‘2

 Where

(10,83)

Where U and V are the air velocities at distance Z in the Z and X directions, re­spectively; A is Reichardt’s constant and is equal to 7.67; and X and Z are the transverse and longitudinal coordinates of the jet, respectively. K is the kine­matic momentum,

K = i (10.84)

3 5 Cr

Where Us is the centerline velocity at a fixed distance, S, from the outlet opening. The gas density should be included in these calculations, but is canceled out in the calculation of the kinematic momentum.7 These equa­tions can be used to calculate the mean velocity, velocity distribution across the jet, total flow rate, and entrained flow rate, at a certain distance from the outlet.

Goodfellow2 has published the following expressions for these relations:

^-c = 2.5 (10.85)

U0 V z

Where Uz c is the centerline velocity at distance Z (m) from the opening, m s~1, U0 is the jet nozzle velocity, m s_1, and Iv is the nozzle width, m.

The velocity across the jet is

U2_ = e-(«x/z)1 (10.86)

«Z, c

Where Uzc is the centerline velocity at distance Z (m) from opening, m s’1, Uz Is the velocity at distance Z (m) from the opening and X (m) from the jet axis, m s-1, and A, a constant, is 6.52.

The mean velocity is given as

Uzm = 0.62m,.,, (10.87)

Where Uz<m is the mean velocity across the jet at distance?(m) from the out­let, m s_l, and U is the centerline velocity at distance Z (m) from the opening, m s_1.

The entrained air can be calculated as

& = 0.62 (z/w), (10.88)

“7 o

Where Qz is the airflow rate at distance Z (m), m3 s-1, Q0 is the airflow rate at the nozzle, m3 s_1, and W is the nozzle width, m.

The total amount of air moving at distance Z from the nozzle is thus equal to Qz. Of this flow rate, QQ comes from the nozzle and half of the remaining flow rate comes from either side of the plane jet.

This entrained flow rate is normally many times the original flow rate and it is the total flow rate that the receiving opening must be designed to exhaust. At the same time the entrained air must be available to both sides of the jet,
otherwise the jet will change direction. This is not a problem when there are large volumes on both sides of the curtain, e. g., if the curtain is at an exterior door for a large industrial hall, with separate supply and exhaust ventilation systems. If the curtain is placed at the opening of a small closed volume, e. g., a biological safety cabinet (Section 10.4.6.4), it is necessary to design the supply flow rate inside to include the entrained air in the curtain and the exhaust flow rate inside to include the total flow rate in the jet. Mostly the exhaust is designed still larger to exhaust some more air from the surroundings to in­crease the separating effect of the curtain.

These relations, which describe the velocity profile sketched in Fig. 10.63, have a similarity property, behind the form of the equations. Guttmark and Wignanski8 indicate that the similarity profile could be found up to a length ot 120 times the outlet opening w’idth.

There are also formulas for calculation of temperature and concentration distribution along and across an air jet. These are based on the similarity pro­file of the jet.9

Another procedure for design of an air curtain is proposed by Tamm10 Based on the Bernoulli equation. Recently Partyka11 proposed another proce­dure based on the model of Schlichting previously described.

The theoretical analysis could also be valid for nonisothermal jets assum­ing that the buoyancy is negligible. Grimitlyn, as reported by Hagstrom,12 Suggests a local Archimedes number defined as:

Ar, — gillf—Lei, (10.89)

Where G is 9.81 m s"2, 2 is the same as above, Uz is the velocity at distance z, T: Is temperature at distance 2, and Te is temperature outside.

He indicates that the buoyancy is negligible for the velocity field for an Archimedes number less than a critical value equal to Ar, cnt — 0.15.

Experimental laboratory results13 and results from a full-scale model1 Have shown the relation between the dispersed thermal power inside and the air temperature difference between the two sides of air curtain. The results shown in Fig. 10.67 are for different conditions. There are no other experi­mental data readily available, so caution is needed when applying these results to the design of an air curtain.

From the experimental results of Azzouz et al.1 it is possible to obtain ar, efficiency parameter of an air curtain:

V = = i _ ggil, (10.90)

<7 *«,0

Where 77 is efficiency, Qm 0 is the mass flow rate dispersed at the doorway with­out an air curtain, and L is the mass flow’ rate dispersed in presence of the air curtain.

Some of the available data are shown in Fig. 10.68 and these indicate that, even if with some uncertainty, r] decreases with an increase in the temperature difference—i. e., the higher the temperature difference, the less efficient the curtains are in separating the volumes. The same authors also claim that the efficiency can be as high as 78% with a thermal difference of 5 “C.1

 AT

50

 ■ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦♦ : ♦ ♦
 40

 ОS

 .JO

 30

 3П

 32

 34 AT (K)

 35

 36

 IS

FIGURE 10.68 An air curtain’s efficiency versus the difference in temperature between indoors and outdoors.

10.4.2.7 Final Remarks

This short outline suggests that it is difficult to find optimal design para­meters for air curtains. CFD may provide a more effective design method for air curtains (see Chapter 13). There are some published articles applying CFD to air jets, but comparison with experimental data is lacking.