Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Numerical study on transient heat transfer under soil with plastic mulch in agriculture applications using a nonlinear finite element model

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In this paper is developed a simple mathematical model of transient heat transfer under soil with plastic mulch in order to determine with numerical studies the influence of different plastic mulches on the soil temperature and the evolutions of temperatures at different depths with time. The governing differential equations are solved by a Galerkin Finite Element Model, taking into account the nonlinearities due to radiative heat exchange between the soil surface, the plastic mulch and the atmosphere. The model was validated experimentally giving good approximation of the model to the measured data. Simulations were run with the validated model in order to determine the optimal combination of mulch optical properties to maximize the soil temperature with a Taguchi's analysis, proving that the material most used nowadays in Colombia is not the optimal and giving quantitative results of the properties the optimal mulch must possess.

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