Application of phase change material heat storage device for control of Varroa mites in beehives

Tapia Brito, Emmanuel (2022) Application of phase change material heat storage device for control of Varroa mites in beehives. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Bees are commonly thought to be useful for generating honey. In the natural environment, pollination of flowers, on the other hand, has the greatest ecological impact on bees. Both the importance of bees to humans and the urgent need to take action to prevent their unjustifiable and slow elimination are generally understood. Bees are now subjected to a variety of stresses and problems. They had to face with the natural challenges in their environment, such as temperature, humidity and predators etc. The major goals of this project are to employ sustainable energy technologies to eliminate the most serious threat to bees, Varroa mites, to design a practical prototype that is easy enough for beekeepers to use, and to show that heat treatment is a non-harmful technique for bees and their products.

The current study looks into the possibility of using phase change materials (PCMs), specifically Sodium Acetate Trihydrate (SAT), as a heat source for thermal treatment. Following a study of phase change materials, it was determined that SAT was the best material for thermal treatment applications due to its thermal, physical, and chemical capabilities. When an active PCM pack is placed to the brood box, a simple mathematical model is used to approximate the thermal interaction that happens. The findings showed that, even under ideal operating conditions, the PCM pack is incapable of overheating the interior of the beehive. The major simulations aided in forecasting PCM pack behaviour, identifying temperature distribution, and estimating the time required to reach the thermotherapy temperature. In addition, an observation beehive was employed to monitor many laboratory and outdoor studies. All of the experiments were planned ahead of time. The goal of these tests was to figure out the most efficient way to process heat treatment.

The results of the intended simulations were obtained and analysed. The temperature variation in the brood chamber was found to be quite close to that observed in laboratory testing and comparable to that reported in apiary investigations. Any type of mesh in the brood box's lowest half blocked the free transfer of heat, according to laboratory research. A thermal insulation top cover was also determined to be required to prevent heat from escaping. The outcomes of the on-site tests demonstrated that the external ambient temperature has a considerable impact on the performance of the PCM pack. In conclusion, it was proved that the Varroa mite, the principal pest that threatens bees in the United Kingdom and around the world, can be eradicated using sustainable energy technology such as PCMs. In this study, developing a basic mathematical model that approximates the thermal interaction was achievable. The purpose of these testing was to learn more about the most efficient approach to undertake heat treatment. The findings of the on-site testing revealed that the surrounding environment's temperature has a significant impact on the PCM pack's performance. The prototype developed will help in the reduction of Varroa mite infestations in UK apiaries, which will improve bee living conditions, will not harm other species with harmful chemical substances, will be reusable and thus environmentally friendly, bee losses will be reduced, Varroa mites will cease developing pesticide resistance and pollination of agricultural products that are critical for human sustenance and corners will be reduced.

This research could lead to a lot of additional work, such as improving the prototype and developing an in-depth assessment approach to confirm that this technology effectively eliminates the Varroa mite from the brood box.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Riffat, Saffa
Chen, Ziwei
Keywords: Phase change materials, Thermal energy storage, Thermotherapy, Honeybees, Varroa mite
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
Item ID: 71611
Depositing User: Tapia Brito, Emmanuel
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2022 04:40

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