Use of Simulation to Model Solar Radiation in the Cold Chain Industry

Jeena Kulangara, Senior Thermal Engineer, Cold Chain Technologies

The cold chain industry designs, develops, and manufactures shipping systems to maintain the required temperature of biologics and vaccines from the point of origin through the distribution chain to the final customer. These shipping systems protect the product from undesired sources of external energy or temperature.

The main modes of heat transfer seen by shipping systems are convective and conduction. The ambient temperature convects energy to/from the shipping system and the insulation materials hinders the conduction of energy from/to the product. Thermal radiation between the different components of a shipping system is too small to be considered.

However, when the shipping system is exposed to the sun, heat transfer through solar radiation is significant and must be considered when designing a shipping system. Solar radiation is electromagnetic energy emitted by the sun. Because of solar radiation, objects placed outdoors are warmer than the air temperature.

In this presentation, after we introduce radiation in the cold chain industry, we discuss the use of simulations to evaluate the effects of solar radiation. We explore a few scenarios using simulations to further understand the impact of solar radiation.