DOI: 10.3390/agriculture13122277 ISSN: 2077-0472

A Simulation and Experiment on the Optimization Design of an Air Outlet Structure for an Air-Assisted Sprayer

Shuaijie Jing, Longlong Ren, Yue Zhang, Xiang Han, Ang Gao, Baoyou Liu, Yuepeng Song
  • Plant Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Food Science

In response to the issues of low-velocity zones and non-uniform jet velocity distribution in the airflow field of traditional air-assisted orchard sprayers, an arc-shaped air outlet suitable for axial-flow air-assisted systems is designed. This article employs the method of CFD numerical simulation and experimental verification to compare and analyze the internal flow field of the air-assisted system and validates the reliability of the numerical simulation results through calculation error and chi-square test. The wind speed of the cross-section is measured at different distances from the outlet, and the distribution characteristics of the outflow field wind speed before and after the structural optimization of the air-assisted system are compared. The horizontal distribution of fog droplets is collected using a fog collection chamber. The experimental results show that the design of the arc-shaped outlet increases the average wind speed of the annular outlet from 14.95 m/s to 18.20 m/s and reduces the proportion of low-speed area from 20.83% to 0.71%. When the rounded corner radius of the air outlet is 50 mm, optimal parameters are attained. The maximum error between the simulated and experimental values is 9.52%. At a significance level of 0.05, the χ2 value is 0.252, indicating that the simulated values follow the distribution of the actual measurement values. On the cross-sections located at distances of 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.25, and 1.5 m from the air outlet, the wind speed distribution with no arc-shaped air outlets exhibits a “low left and high right” type, tending to shift towards the right as a whole. Fog droplets also display a drift tendency towards the right side. The wind speed distribution with arc-shaped air outlets shows a symmetric “high in the middle and low on the sides” type. Fog droplets concentrate in the central position. The optimized air-assisted system can reduce the air field’s low-flow area, increase the airflow distribution uniformity, improve the average wind speed at the outlet, and decrease fog droplet drift. This provides a reference for the structural design of air-assisted systems in current orchard sprayers of the same type.

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