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Improved performance of personalized ventilation by control of the convection flow around occupant body.

INTRODUCTION

The aim of personalized ventilation (PV) is to supply clean air to the breathing zone of each room occupant. Together with total volume ventilation, PV can provide superior air quality and can greatly reduce the risk of cross-infection for occupants who spend a relatively long time at their workplace (Cermak and Melikov 2007). Individual control of the flow rate, temperature and direction of the supplied personalized air makes it possible to achieve a preferred microenvironment for each occupant. It has been documented that PV can significantly improve occupants' inhaled air quality and thermal comfort and can significantly decrease SBS symptoms (Kaczmarczyk et al. 2004, 2006).

The performance of PV with regard to occupants' thermal comfort and inhaled air quality depends on the interaction of the flows in the vicinity of the human body, in most cases the personalized airflow, the free convection flow around the human body, the airflow generated by the background total volume ventilation and the flow of exhaled air.

The personalized flow is typically a free jet issued from a circular or rectangular opening or a nozzle. The first region of the jet, known as the potential core region, contains a core with constant velocity, low turbulence intensity and supply air unmixed with the polluted room air. A non-uniform velocity field at the air supply and a high initial turbulence intensity that generates velocity fluctuations increase the mixing of the supplied clean air with the polluted surrounding room air and decrease the length of the potential core (Melikov 2004).

The free convection flow is generated by the difference between the room air temperature and the surface temperature of the human body. The greater the temperature difference, the stronger the free convection flow. The free convection flow develops from laminar, with low velocity at the lower legs, to turbulent, with relatively high velocity at the upper chest and the head region (Clark and Toy 1975). Body shape and posture, room air temperature, clothing insulation, etc. define the mean velocity in the free convection flow, which may be as high as 0.25 m/s (49.21 fpm) at the head region, and the thickness of the boundary layer, which may measure 0.2 m (0.66 ft) or more (Homma and Yakiyama 1988). This flow induces and transports air (as well as pollutants if present) from lower heights in the room to the breathing zone. Therefore the greater portion of the air that is inhaled by sedentary and standing persons in rooms is from the free convection flow (Brohus and Nielsen 1994).

The background airflow is influenced by the location and type of air supply devices, supply airflow rate and temperature, type and location of heat sources, etc. The flow of exhalation depends on the breathing mode (nose/mouth, mouth/nose, etc.), respiration flow rate (which depends on activity level, body weight), nose and mouth shape (different from person to person), body and head posture, etc.

The interaction of the background flow with the free convection flow is important for the heat loss from the human body. In order to avoid draught discomfort, present indoor climate standards (ISO 7730 2004, ASHRAE 55 2004) recommend low velocity (less than 0.2 m/s (39.37 fpm)) in the occupied zone at the low range of comfortable room air temperature (20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F)-24 [degrees]C (75.2 [degrees]F)). Under these conditions, the strength of the free convection flow may be equal to or even stronger than the strength of the background flow. The thermal plume generated above the human body by the free convection flow affects the room air distribution (Homma and Yakiyama 1988, Zukowska et al. 2008). The interaction of the personalized flow with the flow of exhalation determines the spread of bioeffluents and exhaled air between room occupants (Cermak and Melikov 2007).

This study focuses on the performance of PV with regard to inhaled air quality. In this respect the interaction between the free convection flow and the personalized flow is of major importance. The interaction depends on many factors: strength of free convection flow and thickness of its boundary layer, velocity, turbulence intensity, direction and temperature of PV flow, body posture, shape and clothing design, etc. It has been documented that personalized flow directed against the face with a mean velocity higher than 0.3-0.35 m/s (59.06-68.89 fpm) is able to penetrate the free convection flow and provide 100% clean air. This however, may pose draught discomfort, especially at a relatively low room air temperature (Melikov 2004). The risk of draught will decrease when the velocity of the personalized flow decreases, i.e decrease of the personalized flow rate when the air supply terminal device is not changed. This strategy will require a decrease of the strength and the thickness of the free convection flow at the breathing zone to enable its penetration by the personalized flow and to supply clean air for inhalation. However, methods for control of the free convection flow have not yet been developed or studied.

Two methods, passive and active, for controlling the free convection flow at the breathing zone were developed. The effect of these methods on the interaction of the personalized flow with the free convection flow and the resulting improvement of inhaled air quality was studied. The results are presented and discussed in this paper.

METHOD

Full-Scale Test Room

The experiments were performed in a full-scale test room with dimensions 4.70 m x 1.62 m x 2.60 m (15.42 ft x 5.31 ft x 8.53 ft) (WxLxH). One workplace consisting of a desk with an air terminal device for PV, a chair and a seated thermal manikin was simulated in the room (Figure 1).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Three fixtures (6 W (20.47 Btu/h) each) located in the ceiling provided the background lighting. The room itself was built in a laboratory hall, 70 cm (2.3 ft) above the floor. The walls of the test room were made of particleboard and were insulated by 6 cm (0.2 ft) thick styrofoam. One of the walls was made from single layer glazing.

Total Volume Ventilation

Mixing type ventilation was used to condition the air in the test room. The air supply diffuser (a rotation diffuser) and the air exhaust diffuser (a perforated circular diffuser) were installed on the ceiling as shown in Figure 1. Supply air temperature and flow rate as well as exhaust flow rate were controlled during the measurements. Air humidity was not controlled but was measured as being relatively constant (30%-35%). The supplied air was clean (no recirculation was used). The supply flow rate was 12 L/s (25.42 cfm), which corresponded to an air change rate of 2.2 h-1. This flow rate provided good mixing in the room with relatively low velocity.

Personalized Ventilation

The air terminal device of the personalized ventilation, named Round Movable Panel (RMP), was installed on the desk in front of the manikin. The RMP consisted of an arm, which was a lamp-like support enveloped in a flexible duct, and a hollow spherically shaped outlet ([empty set]180 ([empty set]7.1 in)) with a honeycomb straightener at the end. It is described in detail by Bolashikov et al. (2003).

A separate HVAC system was used to supply the personalized air. The temperature and flow rate of the personalized air were controlled. The temperature of the personalized air was maintained constant to the set value by an electrically heated wire, coiled around the supply duct of the personalized air and controlled via a temperature sensor placed in the PV air terminal device. The humidity of the supplied personalized air was not controlled or measured, but was assumed to be close to that in the room (isothermal conditions).

Control Devices

Two control methods, passive and active, were used to reduce the strength and the thickness of the free convection flow at the breathing zone. The passive control device did not require the use of energy, as opposed to the active control device. The two methods are referred to in the following as desk-based designs for control of the convection flow around the occupant's body.

Device for Passive Control

The device for passive control was made of plastic cardboard (10 mm (0.36 in) thick 630 x 360 mm (2.07 ft x 1.18 ft): length x width), placed in front of the manikin to block the gap between the abdomen and the front edge of the desk, and thus to prevent the warm air generated by the lower body (feet, legs, thighs) from moving upwards towards the breathing zone. Two designs were tested, one with a round front edge made to fit around the manikin's abdomen--"cut board" (Fig.2a) and one with a straight front edge--"straight board" (Fig.2b).

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Device for Active Control

The device for active control aimed to reduce the convection flow arising from the lower part of the body and prevent it from merging with the flow originating from the lower chest of the manikin. This device consisted of a box with 6 direct current (DC) ordinary PC fans of 1.4 W (4.78 Btu/h) nominal electric power (in 2 rows of 3 fans each). This device, named "suction box" was installed below the desk with its front edge in line with the edge of the table (Figure 3). The front and the rear groups of fans could be operated separately. The air sucked from the fans was exhausted in the test room more than 1 m (3.28 ft) away from the manikin in order to avoid possible disturbances of the personalized flow and the free convection flow.

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

Thermal Manikin

A thermal manikin with a surface temperature controlled to be the same as the skin temperature of an average person in a state of thermal comfort was used to resemble an occupant. The manikin's body is shaped to resemble accurately the body of an average Scandinavian woman, 1.7 m (5.58 ft) in height. The manikin is made of a 3 mm (0.12 in) fiberglass coated polystyrene shell and is divided into 23 segments. Each of these segments is equipped with heating and temperature measuring wiring controlled by a computer program so as to maintain a surface temperature equal to the skin temperature of a person in a state of thermal comfort at the actual activity level, and thus realistically to recreate the free convection flow surrounding the human body. The control of the manikin is described by Tanabe et al. (1994).

Experimental Conditions

Experiments were performed under isothermal conditions, i.e. room air temperature equal to the personalized air temperature. The measurements were performed at two air temperatures, 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) and 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F), i.e. the lowest and the highest comfortable room air temperature specified in the present thermal comfort standards (ISO 7730 2004, ASHRAE Standard 55 2004).

The manikin, seated on an office chair, was positioned with its abdomen at a distance of 0.1 m (0.33 ft) from the edge of the desk. During the measurements at 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) the manikin was dressed in underwear, long elastic trousers, long-sleeved elastic pullover, light socks, leather shoes and light long-sleeved woollen sweater (1.2 clo). At 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F) it was dressed in underwear, shorts, t-shirt, light socks and trainers (0.5 clo). The manikin was wearing a short hair wig just below the ear level.

Most of the experiments were performed at three flow rates of personalized air (4, 6, 8 L/s) (8.47, 12.7, 16.94 cfm). The voltage to the fans in the suction box was controlled to either 15V or 30V by a DC voltage alternator (the flow rate of the exhaust air was not measured). When either of the 2 groups of fans was running (rear or front), the other one was blocked.

In all tested conditions, the RMP was positioned to supply personalized airflow towards the middle of the face of the manikin (the symmetry axis of the outlet was pointing between mouth and nose). The distance between outlet and breathing zone was kept at 40 cm (1.31 ft).

Tracer gas, Freon R134a, was used to simulate pollution in the room air. During the measurements a constant dose of tracer gas was supplied in the duct of the background ventilation system before the ceiling diffuser. After passing the plenum box and the rotation diffuser, the tracer gas was well mixed in the air supplied to the room. The personalized air was free of tracer gas.

The tracer gas sampling and its concentration measurement was performed at 5 points by a real-time gas monitor based on the photo-acoustic principle of measurement. The positioning of the 5 sampling points is indicated in Figure 1. Point S4 was used to assess whether or not good mixing was achieved in the room and was positioned at a height of 1.1 m above the floor. A tube attached at the upper lip of the manikin at a distance of 0.005 m (0.24 in) from the face was used to sample air for measuring the tracer gas concentration in inhaled air (Figure 1, S5) as recommended by Melikov and Kaczmarczyk (2007).

Prior to the experiment air velocities around the manikin (20 cm (0.66 ft) away) at a height of 0.6 m (1.97 ft) were measured for 3 min with a low velocity thermal anemometer with omnidirectional velocity sensor. All measured velocities were below 0.2 m/s (39.37 fpm). Velocity measurements were performed at several locations and at different heights in the full-scale test room in order to verify the existence of velocities lower than 0.2 m/s (39.37 fpm). The characteristics of the anemometer complied with the requirements specified in the standards (ISO Standard 7726 1998, ASHRAE Standard 113 2005). The accuracy of the velocity (in fact speed) measurement was 0.02 m/s (39.37 fpm) [+ or -]1% of the reading in the range between 0.05 and 1 m/s (9,84 and 196.85 fpm).

The personalized airflow rate was measured by a flow sensor based on pressure difference. The pressure was monitored by a differential pressure manometer with an accuracy of 0.01 Pa (4 x [10.sup.-5] in of [H.sub.2]O) [+ or -] 0.25% of reading. The flow sensor was installed in the duct of the PV system. The required flow rate was adjusted by a manually operated damper and from the pressure difference readings taken from the manometer.

Criteria for Assessment

The inhaled air quality was assessed by the Personal Exposure Effectiveness index (PEE) introduced by Melikov et al. (2002). The PEE represents the portion of clean personalized air in the air inhaled by an occupant. PEE is equal to 1 (or 100%) when only clean personalized air is inhaled, i.e. best performance of the personalized ventilation; PEE equal to 0 (or 0%) means that the inhaled air is polluted room air. Its value is calculated as:

[[epsilon].sub.P] = [[[C.sub.I, 0] - [C.sub.I]]/[[C.sub.I, 0] - [C.sub.PV]]] x 100

where:

[[epsilon].sub.p] = personal exposure effectiveness

[C.sub.I,0] = pollution concentration in inhaled air if no PV is used

[C.sub.PV] = pollution concentration in the personalized ventilation air

[C.sub.I] = pollution concentration in inhaled air when PV is used.

Procedure

The air temperature in the experimental room and the laboratory hall were set up 24 hours prior to the measurements in order to achieve steady-state conditions. The air temperature in the laboratory hall was equal to the temperature in the test room, i.e. either 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) or 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F). At the start of the experiments the thermal manikin was switched on, the personalized air temperature and flow rate were adjusted and the dosing of tracer gas started. The measurements were initiated after steady-state conditions were achieved, i.e. e constant Freon concentration monitored at the sampling point S4 (Figure 1) and constant heat flux from the manikin.

For each experimental condition, tracer gas concentrations were measured 10 times in all 5 points. The heat flux and the surface temperature for each body segment and the average surface temperature for the whole body of the manikin were recorded for 5 minutes but they are not reported in this paper.

The measurements were performed in this order: 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F), 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F). The experiments performed at each of the two temperatures (different flow rate, free convection flow control method, etc.) were completely randomised to avoid biasing.

RESULTS

Figure 4 (a and b) shows the PEE obtained with the RMP when the boards with different shapes for passive control of the free convection flow were used. The PEE obtained with the RMP only, i.e. without the blocking effect of the boards, is shown in the figures as well. The PEE obtained with and without board increases with the increase of the flow rate. Comparison of the results obtained at 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) and 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F) and at all flow rates studied shows that substantially higher PEE was obtained with the boards than with RMP alone, i.e. the performance of the PV improved when the boards were used. Both at 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) and 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F) the maximum increase of the PEE with the board was obtained at 6 L/s (12.7 cfm). At a personalized flow rate of 4 L/s (8.47 cfm) the greater increase was obtained at 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F). The improvement with the boards can be seen at 8 L/s (16.94 cfm) as well (PEE>94%) though the PEE obtained with the RMP alone was also high (88% at 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) and 80% at 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F). The impact of the room air temperature on the strength of the free convection flow can be seen from the results in the figures obtained at 4 L/s (8.47 cfm) and 6 L/s (12.7 cfm). The increase of the room temperature to 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F) decreased the strength of the free convection and made its penetration by the personalized flow easier. The differences in the PEE obtained with the two boards at the same personalized flow rate and air temperature were small and could be due to differences in positioning of the boards.

[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]

Figure 5 (a and b) shows the results for PEE when the RMP was used together with the suction box with either front fans or rear fans in operation. The PEE obtained with the RMP only, i.e. with the fans off is shown in the figures as well. The results look quite similar to the results obtained with the board. The PEE obtained with and without fans in operation increases with the increase of the flow rate. The comparison of the results obtained at 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) and 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F) and at all flow rates studied shows substantially higher PEE obtained with the fans in operation than with RMP alone, i.e. the performance of the PV improved when the suction box was used. Both at 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) and 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F) the maximum increase of the PEE is obtained at 6 L/s (12.7 cfm). The effect of the suction box on the PEE is much greater at 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) than at 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F). This result is in contrast to what was expected and could be due to positioning of the board and the disturbances of the free convection flow due to the suction. This however needs to be further studied. At a personalized flow rate of 4 L/s (8.47 cfm) the greater increase in the PEE was obtained at 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F). An increase of the PEE with the suction box in comparison with the PEE obtained with the RMP alone can be seen at 8 L/s (16.94 cfm) as well (PEE>93%). At this relatively high flow rate the personalized flow was strong enough to penetrate the free convection flow even without use of the suction box (PEE>80%). The impact of the room air temperature on the strength of the free convection flow can be seen from the results obtained at 4 L/s (8.47 cfm) and 6 L/s (12.7 cfm). The increase of the room temperature to 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F) decreased the strength of the free convection and made its penetration by the personalized flow easier, resulting in higher values of the PEE. The effect on the PEE of using only the front fans or only the rear fans was relatively small, though for most of the cases studied better results were achieved with the front fans operating, probably because those were closer to the torso and the thighs where the convection flow was stronger (formed by joining of the flow emerging from the legs and that originating from the groin).

[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]

The results obtained with the straight shape board and the cut shape board combined with the suction box with fans are shown in Figure 6 and Figure 7 respectively. At 8 L/s (16.94 cfm) the PEE reached quite high values (above 90%). In almost all cases, the simultaneous use of the fans and the boards did not improve the PEE in comparison with the use of the boards alone. For some of the measurements the use of fans and board at the same time led even to a decrease of the PEE. The reason for these results remains to be studied. The comparison of the results in Figures 6 (a and b) and 7 (a and b) show that for many of the conditions tested the combination of the boards with the front fans in operation performed slightly better than the combination of the boards with the rear fans.

[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 7 OMITTED]

Because of the similarity of the results for the two types of boards used, and also for the two fan arrangements, only one of each was chosen for further comparison. The PEE obtained with the straight shaped board is compared in Figure 8 (a and b) with the results obtained with the front fans in operation. The results obtained with the RMP alone are shown in the figures as well. At 20 [degrees]C (68 [degrees]F) and 4 L/s (8.47 cfm) and at 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F) and 6 L/s (12.7 cfm) the results are slightly better for the board, but in the other cases studied, the difference in the PEE obtained with the board and the fans is hardly noticeable. Generally, the board shows better results than the fans.

[FIGURE 8 OMITTED]

The results discussed so far were obtained when the fans were running at half power (15 V). An experiment with the rear fans operating at full power (30 V) at a personalized flow rate of 8 L/s (16.94 cfm) and an air temperature of 26 [degrees]C (78.8 [degrees]F) was also performed. Figure 9 compares the results for the PEE obtained with fans operating at 15 V and 30 V in otherwise identical conditions. The PEE was substantially greater when the fans were operated at half power (15 V) than at full power (30 V). One reason for this result could be that when the fans were operate at full speed, they created quite a strong local suction effect that drew the RMP jet downwards and away from the mouth. The increased suction may enhance the mixing of the personalized air with the room air. A detailed study of the airflow interaction as well as smoke visualization is needed in order to reveal the reason behind the results obtained.

[FIGURE 9 OMITTED]

DISCUSSION

It has been shown that poor indoor air quality causes SBS (Sick Building Syndrome) symptoms such as increased prevalence of headache, decreased ability to think clearly, etc., and affects occupant's performance (Wargocki et al. 2002). An increase of the ventilation flow rate up to 25 L/s (52.95 cfm), i.e. substantially above that recommended in present practice, namely 7-10 L/s (14.83-21.18 cfm) per person, has been shown to reduce complaints of SBS symptoms, to improve productivity and to decrease short-term sick leave. However, this strategy is inefficient because it will increase the energy use and the risk of unacceptably high velocities in the occupied zone of rooms. Mixing and displacement room air distribution applied today for providing clean air to occupants in spaces are inefficient because the clean air supplied far from the occupants is more or less polluted and warm by the time it is inhaled. Advanced methods for air distribution need to be developed and applied in practice.

The potential of personalized ventilation for improvement of inhaled air quality and thus improvement of occupants' health comfort and performance has already been discussed in this paper. The importance of airflow interaction in the vicinity of the human body and the need for its control for the optimal performance of PV has been defined. The results of the present study reveal that it is possible by simple methods to control the free convection flow and thus to control the airflow interaction at the breathing zone, resulting in a substantial increase of the inhaled air quality at a decreased flow rate of the personalized air. The control methods studied allow for a decrease in the strength of the convection flow and for its penetration by a personalized flow at lower velocity, thus decreasing the risk of local discomfort due to draught for sensitive people. In the present study, the personalized air was supplied from an air terminal device (RMP) positioned in front of/above the manikin's face. Previous studies with the RMP (Bolashikov et al. 2003, Melikov 2004) have reported more than 90% clean air in inhaled air with this air distribution device at a supply flow rate of 10 L/s (21.18 cfm). The methods for control of the free convection flow applied in the present study made it possible to increase the portion of personalized air in inhaled air to more than 90-95% at a much lower supply flow rate of 6 L/s (12.7 cfm). The maximum PEE obtained in the present study when the RMP was used alone at 6 L/s (12.7 cfm) was less than 50%. Similar low performance with the RMP at 7 L/s (14.83 cfm) has been reported previously (Cermak et al. 2006).

The importance of the airflow interaction at the breathing zone for the inhaled air quality has been reported and discussed before (Melikov et al. 2003, Melikov 2004). It has been shown that a personalized flow of clean air supplied to the breathing zone from the front, i.e. transverse to the upward free convection flow of polluted air, has potential to provide 100% of clean air for inhalation when its strength is sufficient to penetrate the convection flow. A personalized flow of clean air supplied upwards, i.e. assisting the free convection flow, will mix with the convection flow and will dilute the pollution it carries but its potential to provide 100% clean air for inhalation is limited. Melikov et al. (2002) reported that personalized flow supplied from the edge of the desk in front of a seated thermal manikin and assisting the free convection flow is not able to provide more than 60% clean air for inhalation, even if the supplied flow rate is increased to 20 L/s (42.36 cfm). The results of the present study reveal that control of the free convection flow is an effective strategy for improving the inhaled air quality at a low flow rate of personalized air. The active control method by suction of the free convection flow bellow the desk should be used with caution because it may have a negative impact on the development of the boundary layer in front of the body and its interaction with personalized air, and may result in a decrease of the inhaled air quality.

The energy penalties associated with applying the active method for free convection flow control for improved performance of PV depend on many factors, including the PV system design, the method of coupling of the PV system with the total volume system, the type of total volume system, occupants' activities, etc. Results available from previous experiments performed with different types of fans and the PV air supply device employed in the present study (RMP) were used to demonstrate in a simple way the potential of the active method for control of the free convection flow for energy saving. The use of the three front fans for active control make it possible to achieve PEE in the range 73-89% at a 6 L/s (12.7 cfm) personalized flow rate. At this flow rate, the PEE achieved with the RMP alone was almost twice as low, in the range 31-49%. Previous studies with the RMP used alone (Bolashikov et al. 2003) have identified that a PEE above 80% can be obtained when the supplied flow rate is above 9-10 L/s (19.06-21.18 cfm) (depending on room air and personalized air temperature). A pressure drop of around 10 Pa (0.04 in. of [H.sub.2]O) has been measured with the RMP at 10 L/s (21.18 cfm). Provided that the PV system has its own fan to transport the air (as recently suggested in the literature (Halvonova B. and Melikov A.K. 2008) 16 W (54.61 Btu/h) of electric power was required to move air at 10 L/s (21.18 cfm) (the fan power depends on the type of fan; the example discussed here is based on previous experiments performed with available fans). The three small fans used in the present study to control actively the free convection flow were computer fans of 1.4 W (4.78 Btu/h) nominal electric power each, giving in total 4.2 W (14.33 Btu/h) of energy consumption. Therefore, applying the active method as a way of control over the convection flow would make it possible to decrease the personalized flow from the RMP from 10 (21.18 cfm) to 6 L/s (12.7 cfm) (without decreasing the inhaled air quality). At this decreased flow rate the pressure drop in the PV system will decrease to 3 Pa (0.012 in. of [H.sub.2]O) and the air can be moved by a fan with a power consumption of 5 W (17.06 Btu/h). Thus 9.2 W (31.39 Btu/h) in total will be used to achieve the same inhaled air quality as the RMP used alone, i.e. almost twice the energy reduction. This is just an example to demonstrate that energy savings may be achieved with control of the free convection flow. Much more sophisticated analyses need to be made for accurate prediction of the energy saving.

Two methods of control of the free convection flow are presented and discussed in this paper, passive control when the development of the free convection flow in front of the human body is stopped (blocked) and active control when the development of the boundary layer of the convection flow is disturbed by local suction of air. The effectiveness of the two methods when used together was studied as well. Rather similar results were achieved with the two methods of control, i.e. the PEE obtained was similar. Although further study on the active method of control is needed, especially as regards, the importance of the flow rate of the suction flow on the development of the boundary layer, it may be suggested that the passive method of control, blocking the free convection flow in front of the human body, may be recommended for practical use. A board installed below the desk top panel and pressed gently against the occupant's abdomen with a simple spring mechanism can be applied. The board will follow the backward and forward body movement and thus will break the free convection flow and will improve the performance of PV providing air from the front at a low flow rate. The board can have a straight edge or be shaped to fit tighter to the abdomen, but the results of the present study reveal that the board design is not important for the performance of the control method.

The present research focused on improvement of the airflow interaction at the breathing zone by control of the free convection flow, aiming at better inhaled air quality. The inhaled air quality and thus occupants' health, comfort and performance could be improved by simply decreasing the amount of clean personalized air (and also the total ventilation flow rate). Control of the airflow interaction based on the methods described in this paper or on other innovative methods which may be developed in the future, should be considered as an option before increasing the ventilation flow rates above the present requirements as suggested recently in the HVAC literature.

CONCLUSION

Two methods, passive (blocking board) and active (suction fans), for control of the strength of the free convection flow in front of a seated human body, and thus for control of its interaction with a personalized flow from the front, proved to be able to enhance the performance of the PV with regard to inhaled air quality at a reduced flow rate of supplied personalized air. At 6 L/s (12.7 cfm) the portion of clean personalized air in the inhaled air was more than 90% and substantially higher than without control of the free convection flow (around 50%).

Almost no difference was found in the performance of the passive and active method when applied alone. Applying the two methods simultaneously did not show any improvement either; it even led to a slight decrease in the performance of the PV at 6 L/s (12.7 cfm).

The design of the board (straight or fitted around the abdomen) had no impact on the control of the free convection flow and thus on inhaled air quality.

The use of the front or rear fans for active control of the free convection flow showed rather a similar result, with slightly better performance when the front fans were used. The impact of the positioning of the fans and the suction flow rate needs to be studied further.

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Melikov, A. and Kaczmarczyk, J., 2007, Indoor air quality assessment by a breathing thermal manikin, Indoor Air 17 (1), pp.50-59.

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Wargocki P., Sundel J., Bischof W., Brundrett G., Fanger P.O., Gyntelberg F., Hanssen S.O., Harrison P., Pickering A., Seppanen O., Wouters P., 2002, Ventilation and health in non-industrial indoor environments: report from a European Multidisciplinary Scientific Consensus Meeting (EUROVEN), Indoor Air 12 (2002), pp 113-128.

Zukowska D., Melikov A., Popiolek Z., 2008, Impact of thermal plumes generated by occupant simulators with different complexity of body geometry on airflow pattern in rooms, Proceedings of 7th International Thermal Manikin and Modelling Meeting--University of Coimbra, September 2008, Proceedings CD, Book of abstracts, pp 25-26.

Arsen Melikov, PhD

Fellow ASHRAE

Zhecho Bolashikov is a PhD student, Arsen Melikov is an associate professor, and Miroslav Krenek is a master's student in the Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark.
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Author:Bolashikov, Zhecho D.; Melikov, Arsen; Krenek, Miroslav
Publication:ASHRAE Transactions
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:6476
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