Continuous property measurement techniques and physics based mathematical model for frost growth control

Jose Iragorry, Florida International University


The development of a new set of frost property measurement techniques to be used in the control of frost growth and defrosting processes in refrigeration systems was investigated. Holographic interferometry and infrared thermometry were used to measure the temperature of the frost-air interface, while a beam element load sensor was used to obtain the weight of a deposited frost layer. The proposed measurement techniques were tested for the cases of natural and forced convection, and the characteristic charts were obtained for a set of operational conditions. An improvement of existing frost growth mathematical models was also investigated. The early stage of frost nucleation was commonly not considered in these models and instead an initial value of layer thickness and porosity was regularly assumed. A nucleation model to obtain the droplet diameter and surface porosity at the end of the early frosting period was developed. The drop-wise early condensation in a cold flat plate under natural convection to a hot (room temperature) and humid air was modeled. A nucleation rate was found, and the relation of heat to mass transfer (Lewis number) was obtained. It was found that the Lewis number was much smaller than unity, which is the standard value usually assumed for most frosting numerical models. The nucleation model was validated against available experimental data for the early nucleation and full growth stages of the frosting process. The combination of frost top temperature and weight variation signals can now be used to control the defrosting timing and the developed early nucleation model can now be used to simulate the entire process of frost growth in any surface material.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Iragorry, Jose, "Continuous property measurement techniques and physics based mathematical model for frost growth control" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3193044.