Modeling and Verifying Aircraft Paint Hangar Airflow to Reduce Greenhouse Gas and Energy Usage While Protecting Occupational Health
This project will demonstrate and validate new engineering design criteria for Department of Defense (DoD) aircraft paint hangar operations. By comparing existing or optimized conditions to a lowered airflow using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling and on-site verification, scientific data will be developed to support the reduction of airflow rates in hangars while maintaining occupational safety and health. A previous CFD and tracer gas study of a single paint hangar and aircraft type showed that a maintained air velocity of 75 fpm may be as effective as the current criterion of 100 fpm. Multiple facility configurations and aircraft types will be investigated in this project to determine whether this finding is robust and generalizeable.
CFD modeling and on-site verification will be used to characterize the contaminant concentration experienced by spray painters during typical painting operations at four different DoD aircraft paint hangars. Evolutions of solvent vapors during wipe-down and primer and topcoat application at two or more reduced flow rates will be simulated using ventilation and process conditions measured during baseline field studies. The simulations will then be verified using tracer gas analysis and confirmed using occupational exposure monitoring. When the criteria are fully confirmed, new design criteria will be added to the Uniform Facility Criteria (UFC) documentation, which is used by design engineers throughout DoD and other design manuals used by ventilation designers.
Based on energy information generated during a Navy Environmental Sustainability Development to Integration (NESDI) project at Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, and projections for the other four Navy depots, the team expects an annual energy savings of $545,000 by reducing air flow from 100 fpm to 75 fpm. The simulation of aircraft paint hangars can also pave the way for innovative designs that reduce airflow rates and protect worker health and safety. Moreover, the performance of facilities, in terms of the current criterion, will be evaluated in this project for issues such as unbalanced supply and exhaust rates, air distribution, bay pressurization, appropriate permit operation requirements, and system over-design, all of which may be sources of inefficiency and energy waste. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2015)
Points of Contact
Ms. Kathleen Paulson
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC)
Energy and Water
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