Many existing office buildings have inadequate cooling because of the increased thermal load associated with modern office equipment. The space limitations of many of these buildings do not allow the air-ducting to be increased to cope with increased thermal load. The chiller unit can in many cases be easily upgraded to higher capacity. Large planar heat pipe panels can also be positioned inside the air-conditioned space for augmenting the cooling capacity of the existing plant. These panels are thermally connected to the chilled water return line. The performance of the cooling panels is a function of their size and their position within the enclosed space.
Free convective heat transfer from thin cooling panels in various locations inside a room have been modelled numerically. Predictions of flow streamlines, flow velocities, local heat fluxes, and isotherms throughout the enclosure are given.
The simulation results are analysed in terms of the thermal efficiency of the panel. Meaningful ways of evaluating a human comfort index are explored.