Modeling Heat Mat Operation for Piglet Creep Heating

Zhang, Qiang
Xin, Hongwei
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A model was developed and validated to predict the operational characteristics of heat mat for swine farrowing creep heating. Heat exchange between piglets and heat mat was simulated by a one-dimensional, steady-state heat transfer model. Validation data were collected from three birth-to-wean (14 days) trials under controlled environment of 21°C room temperature and minimal draft (air velocity < 0.15 m/s). The measured maximum contact temperature between piglets and heat mat during the 14-day lactation period ranged from 44.5 to 46.2°C, and was independent of piglet age. The predicted maximum contact temperature was 44.1 and 45.9°C for 1- and 14-day-old piglets, respectively. For typical wintertime production conditions (20°C and minimal draft), the model predicted that a power input of 188 W/m2 to the mat would be required to maintain thermal neutrality of 1.5 kg piglets. The model further predicted that the power-input requirement would be reduced to 100 W/m2 for the typical early weaning body weight of 4.0 kg. Environmental conditions (air temperature and velocity) and piglet behavior strongly affect the operational characteristics of the heat mat.


ASAE in July 2000. Presented as ASAE Paper 99-4181. Journal Paper No. J-18600 of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, Iowa State University, Project No. 3355. Funding for this study was provided by the Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative of Manitoba and the Iowa Energy Center, and was acknowledged with gratitude. Mention of vendor or product names is for presentation clarity and does not imply endorsement by the authors or their affiliations nor exclusion of other suitable products.

This article is from Transactions of the ASAE 43, no. 5 (2000): 1261–1267.

Piglets, Localized heating, Heat mat, Swine farrowing, Modeling