International journal of heat and fluid flow vol:30 issue:2 pages:356-368
The efficiency of pesticide application to agricultural fields and the resulting environmental contamination highly depend on atmospheric airflow. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling of airflow within plant canopies using 3D canopy architecture was developed to understand the effect of the canopy to airflow. The model average air velocity was validated using experimental results in a wind tunnel with two artificial model trees of 24 cm height. Mean air velocities and their root mean square (RMS) values were measured on a vertical plane upstream and downstream sides of the trees in the tunnel using 2D hotwire anemometer after imposing a uniform air velocity of 10 m s(-1) at the inlet. 3D virtual canopy geometries of the artificial trees were modelled and introduced into a computational fluid domain whereby airflow through the trees was simulated using Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations and k-epsilon turbulence model. There was good agreement of the average longitudinal velocity, U between the measurements and the simulation results with relative errors less than 2% for upstream and 8% for downstream sides of the trees. The accuracy of the model prediction for turbulence kinetic energy k and turbulence intensity I was acceptable within the tree height when using a roughness length (y(0) = 0.02 mm) for the surface roughness of the tree branches and by applying a source model in a porous sub-domain created around the trees. The approach was applied for full scale orchard trees in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) and was compared with previous approaches and works. The simulation in the ABL was made using two groups of full scale orchard trees; short (h = 3 m) with wider branching and long (h = 4 m) with narrow branching. This comparison showed good qualitative agreements on the vertical profiles of U with small local differences as expected due to the spatial disparities in tree architecture. This work was able to show airflow within and above the canopy in 3D in more details. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.