Custom Fitting a Solution for Custom-Fit Kitchen Appliances

Rocky DEM and Ansys CFD coupling help Sub-Zero investigate dirt accumulation

High-end kitchen designs camouflage appliances within their luxurious facades, restricting air flow and trapping dust and dirt. Refrigerator heat exchangers are especially susceptible to failure. Coupled CFD–DEM is being used by Sub-Zero Group engineers to investigate dirt accumulation.

Sub-Zero uses many different physics tools, and Rocky DEM fits like a glove into our existing portfolio. Combining Rocky DEM with CFD provides real insight on understanding a specific speck of dust on a specific surface within a certain geometry. Our task is to create a design around that reality, developing a refrigerator heat exchanger that is robust to dust accumulation.”

Anderson Bortoletto

Principal Engineer Advanced Product Group, Sub-Zero Group Inc.

To develop a more-efficient heat exchanger for a high-end refrigerator, Sub-Zero engineers needed to realistically model the flow and deposition of dirt, dust, hair and cotton fibers throughout the component.

The engineering team applied a one-way coupled CFD–DEM solution that provided accurate insight into how a kitchen foulant recipe affects heat exchanger flow and operation. Rocky DEM was a critical choice, as it has built-in capabilities to model complex and fibrous materials (which CFD and other DEM software cannot do), thus yielding information on particle deposition, fluid forces acting on particles such as drag, and adhesion forces.

Using Rocky DEM enables Sub-Zero product designers to accurately predict dirt flow through a refrigerator heat exchanger. Simulation is speeded up with built-in GPU capabilities, saving time and money; in addition, Rocky seamlessly integrates with the company’s multiphysics simulation portfolio. Understanding all aspects of flow behavior is critical to ensuring robust operation in future Sub-Zero refrigerator designs.


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