Researchers at the von Karman Institute used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to decrease ambient air entrainment in an ice cream freezer by 30 percent, improving the operation of the freezer in hot, humid climates. Previously, the freezer had a problem with frost buildup in these environments. One option for solving the problem was to build and test alternative freezer designs, but the manufacturer ruled that out because of the time and expense involved. Researchers at the von Karman Institute used CFD for this project because it provided a faster method of evaluating multiple designs. Once a CFD model of the problem was created, researchers could quickly change freezer geometry and operating parameters and see how the new design affected airflow and temperature. A series of CFD analyses led to design changes that redirected the flow field to prevent ambient air from entering the freezer compartment.
The von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, Rhode-Saint-Genčse, Belgium, is a non-profit international educational and scientific organization, hosting three departments: aeronautics and aerospace, environmental and applied fluid dynamics, and turbomachinery. The institute provides post-graduate education in fluid dynamics and encourages "training in research through research." Created in 1956 following Theodore von Kármán's proposal, it is currently supported with subsidies from most of the member countries of NATO and with additional income derived from contract research. The Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics Department, created in 1974, is the youngest department at the Institute. Its activities are related to a wide range of domains such as biological flows, multiphase flows, wind effects on buildings and structures, gas dispersion in the atmosphere, heat transfer, rocket engine fuel supply, for example. Some of the industrial fields in which this department has already been active include: coating processes, continuous casting of steel, pneumatic transport, spray and jet cooling, galvanization of strips and wires, cyclone separators, synthetic fibers, micronization of solid materials, and gas/droplets separation.