Managing a Website to Provide Tips for Better Living
The effectiveness of household products can be maximized when appropriate amounts are used in the most efficient ways. One example is washing clothes.
Lidea publishes articles written by 5 specialists (known as Meisters), which are categorized into cleaning, oral care, health care, and washing topics. Research is conducted at the company's living comfort laboratory and the findings are used to update the articles. Each specialist offers advice based on their expertise. Dr. Yoshifumi Yamagata, Washing and Textiles Evaluation Specialist from Lion Corporation, (Picture 1) is one of them.
Most Effective Drying Layout of Laundry Validated by Research Data
Transient analyses were performed using linear low-Reynolds number model.
Unexpected Findings from Simulation Results
Dr. Yamagata had been searching to find an alternative means to validate why the arch layout appeared to be the most effective drying layout, other than undertaking more tests. This is when he came up with the idea of using simulations. Software Cradle was recommended by university researchers investigating airflow in indoor living spaces. Dr. Yamagata decided to consult Software Cradle further for help.
Having received a request from Dr. Yamagata, Software Cradle performed computational analyses using scSTREAM, and compared the analysis results with the test findings. As shown in Figure 1, the analysis results show that the drying process involves downdraft, and not updraft. The heat of vaporization created by vapor from the wet laundry cools the surrounding air. The cooled air is collected below the arched laundry, which creates downdraft (results shown in Figure 2).
Steady-state analysis was performed using linear low-Reynolds number model.
Transient analyses were performed using linear low-Reynolds number model
Analyzing Interior Airflow
An important point to note, when using a clothes drying fan/humidifier, is to close the doors and windows in the room. If a dehumidifier is used, it should be located near the floor. “When we use air cooling fans, we often mount them horizontally to us. We also tend to locate the dehumidifier in the same way. But the most efficient way to dry laundry using a dehumidifier is to place it on floor,” says Dr. Yamagata. To validate the effectiveness of the location of the humidifier, a test was conducted at 25°C room temperature and 80% relative humidity. A dehumidifier was placed in two locations as shown in Figure 4. 150 minutes were needed to dry the clothes when the dehumidifier was located horizontally from the clothes. In comparison, only 120 minutes was needed when the dehumidifier was located below the laundry.
More Convincing Findings and Diverse Applications
Dr. Yamagata notes that using scSTREAM for analysis enabled him to explain why wet laundry dries faster when hung using an arch layout. Visualization results to show the drying process also drew much attention. Articles posted on Lidea have been popular and shared on many curation websites, steadily increasing page views. “Page view patterns have demonstrated that it is more convincing to visually show the drying process rather than present analysis results using charts and graphs,” says Dr. Yamagata. The Lion Corporation has succeeded in solving potential end-users’ problems for everyday living topics. They've also improved product credibility by performing detailed computational analyses to validate product effectiveness. Visualizing results is not only appealing to the eyes, but is also more convincing when combined with logical explanations.
Dr. Yamagata also comments that simulation analysis results can be used in diverse ways. Animations can be used as promotional videos in stores. Animations also enabled them to identify how air flow patterns, and resulting drying effectiveness, are different depending on where the wet laundry is hung in the room.
At the same time, several challenges still remain. For example, the analyses did not account for how towels waver while being dried. Dr. Yamagata expects that the results will be more accurate if interaction effects between the air flow and towels are considered in the analyses.
To perform a drying analysis of towels, Dr. Yamagata used an scSTREAM function that enables release and transfer of water in an object. This is a special function available in scSTREAM, which is usually used when analyzing building materials that possess dehumidifying or moisturizing characteristics. For the towel analysis, pile surface resistance was considered. Performing computational analysis and using the test data to tune the models produced the best results.
Dr. Yamagata intended to commission Software Cradle for the Lion Corporation fluid analyses from the beginning. As a rheology specialist, Dr. Yamagata had experience performing polymer molecule simulations, but air flow simulations were beyond his expertise. A substantial amount of time and work would have been needed for him to perform the air flow simulations himself. While using scSTREAM is relatively easy, setting parameters and boundary conditions can be quite involved. Dr. Yamagata would have to construct logical hypotheses for every experiment to define the necessary inputs. This would require accumulated experience and know-how. This was not a realistic expectation for Dr.Yamagata to get involved in the detailed processes of performing the analyses.
Fluid Analyses can be Effective for Everyday Home-Related Issues
Another example involves cleaning a bathroom or locker room, which may require removing ceiling mold.
To solve this problem, the Lion Corporation developed the LOOK Bath Anti-mold Fogger, which uses bactericidal smoke to clean the room and prevent further mold. Validating the effectiveness of this product will help identify conditions needed for sufficient ventilation. “Another challenge is how to convey these findings to consumers and win empathy,” says Dr. Yamagata.
Dr. Yamagata is also interested in performing fluid analyses to predict how laundry can get tangled when being washed. Observing what is happening inside a washing machine, while laundry is being washed, is difficult to accomplish. Dr. Yamagata has discussed this with a household appliance manufacturer and asked whether a transparent washing machine could be produced. Unfortunately, such a machine would be difficult to make because it would have to be strong enough to withstand the substantial centrifugal force applied during the spin process. Dr. Yamagata comments: “scSTREAM is a useful tool that visualizes what cannot be properly perceived by our eyes. I hope that the software will be used in diverse fields. Thanks to technical advances, analyses that used to take one week to perform can now be done in few minutes. I’m looking forward to further improvements in analysis technology.”
*1 Satoshi Matsunaga: Nichijo seikatsu ni okeru sentaku iryo no heyaboshishu to sono yokusei, Journal of Japan Association on Odor Environment, Vol. 36 (2005) No. 2
*2 Presented at the Japan Research Association for Textile End-Uses in 2013