Air curtains (ACs) are plane turbulent impinging jets that are used to separate two environments in terms of heat and mass transfer while still allowing traffic between these environments. The many applications of ACs across a wide variety of industries makes the evaluation of their performance an important but difficult task. The aim of this paper is to introduce a performance indicator, called the adapted separation efficiency, that is suitable for different types of systems that may involve different AC configurations (downward blowing, upward blowing, lateral blowing, multiple jets, etc.) at multiple scales, different transported quantities (heat, water vapor, particles, gases, etc.) subjected to various transport mechanisms (advection, molecular and turbulent diffusion) and varying environmental conditions (gradients in environmental pressure and/or density). It is defined using a conventional efficiency formula. The principle of this performance indicator is illustrated with a generic case study where the performance is evaluated for two basic AC configurations involving cross-jet pressure and density gradients, as well as different jet momentum fluxes. The case study is conducted based on computational fluid dynamics employing validated large eddy simulations.
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