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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Thermal Design of Shipping Containers for Beneficial Insects

item Casada, Mark
item Ram, M
item Flinn, Paul

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/2007
Publication Date: 1/1/2008
Citation: Casada, M., Ram, M.S., Flinn, P.W. 2008. Thermal Design of Shipping Containers for Beneficial Insects. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 24: 63-70.

Interpretive Summary: Suppliers of beneficial parasitoids for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) control of harmful insects need better containers and specifications for healthy shipping of the parasitoids. We defined shipping container design requirements by modeling heat transfer through shipping container walls and used data from instrumented containers shipped via Federal Express from a cooperating manufacturer’s laboratory to GMPRC for validation. Specifications were developed for the insulation and natural refrigerant necessary for maintaining the internal temperature in the desirable range throughout the shipping time based on heat transfer analysis and field tests. This information will allow beneficial insect suppliers to safely ship their insects while using the most economical size of package and natural refrigerant.

Technical Abstract: The use of chemical pesticides to control stored product insects can be reduced with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices such as the use of natural enemies, like parasitoids, to control harmful insects. In this study, improved specifications were developed for shipping containers to deliver healthy parasitoids for IPM practitioners. Heat transfer through the container walls was evaluated to determine the amount of insulation and natural refrigerant (such as ice) necessary for maintaining the internal temperature in the desirable range throughout the shipping time and was based on recommended temperature limits for commercial shipments. An energy balance on the shipping containers was used to provide the needed design equation to specify the insulation level. Containers with temperature-monitoring sensors were shipped by overnight express from a cooperating supplier’s laboratory to GMPRC to obtain validation data. Also, standard frozen gels and other potential natural refrigerants were compared in laboratory tests of the containers at times and temperatures comparable to those measured in the experimental shipments.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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