# Solar Flat Plate Thermal Collector

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1 Solar Flat Plate Thermal Collector

2 INTRODUCTION: Solar heater is one of the simplest and basic technologies in the solar energy field. Collector is the heart of any solar heating system. It absorbs and converts the solar energy into heat and then transfers that heat to a stream of. There are different types of solar thermal collector. This experimental setup is using a flat plate collector. OBJECTIVE: To perform tests on Solar Flat Plate Thermal Collector and evaluate the following parameters in forced mode of operation a. Overall Heat loss coefficient (U L ) b. Heat Removal Factor (F R ) c. Thermal Efficiency of the collector (η) Performance of Solar Thermal Heater has to be compared for the following cases: CASE 1. Study the effect of mass flow rate on the Solar Thermal Heater (STWH) performance 1. Record the observations maintaining a time gap of 20 minutes among 0.5 LPM, 1 LPM and 1.5 LPM flowrates and evaluate the parameters. 2. Following parameters to be plotted in graphs w.r.t. mass flow rate a. Efficiency, b. Temperat and c. Plate 3. Obtain the optimum flow rate from graphs plotted in 2a and 2b. CASE 2: Study the effect of varying level of radiation from Minimum to Maximum 1. Maintaining a time gap of 20 minutes between each set of readings also 2. Plot the efficiency vs radiation graph for different radiation levels. CASE 3: Study the effect of varying wind speed from 3m/s to1m/s(average value) 1. Maintaining a time gap of 10 min in between each set of readings 2. Plot the efficiency curve with different wind speed and all inlet parameters 2 Page

3 CASE 4: Study the effect of varying tilt angles of 45 degree and 60 degree 1. Maintaining a time gap of 10 minutes between each set of readings 2. Plot the efficiency graph with different tilt angles. THEORY: A typical flat-plate collector consists of an absorber plate in an insulated box together with transparent cover sheet(s). Work and properties of different components of a flat plate collector Absorber plate: It is a flat conducting plate to which the tubes, fins, or passages are attached. It may be a continuous or discrete plate. The plate is usually coated with a high absorptance and low emittance layer. Cover plate: One or more sheet of glass or other radiation-transmitting material forms the cover plate. The cover plate serves two purposes, minimization of convective heat loss and blocking of IR radiation. Heat removal passages: These are tubes, fins, or passages which conduct or direct the stream of from the inlet to the outlet of the collector. Headers or manifolds: These are the pipes to admit and discharge that is meant to be heated. Insulation: Insulations such as Rockwool or Glass wool are fitted in the back and sides of the collector to prevent heat loss from the collector. Casing: The casing surrounds the aforementioned components and protects them from dust, moist and any other material. In the following Fig-1, schematic diagram of a typical flat-plate collector is shown with different parts at their proper locations. 3 Page

4 Fig-1: Schematic diagram of a typical flat-plate collector Table-1: Overall Specifications of the system Components Specification Remarks heating system (Collector and tank) 4 Page Collector area: m 2 Tank capacity: 50 L Halogen system Halogen fixt s area:.0.72 m 2 Number of halogen lamp: 21 Power :150 W each Regulator: 5000 W Collector: Flat plate collector. To collect and transfer energy Tank: non pressurized aluminum tank. To store Halogen: To supply the required intensity on the collector. Regulator: To adjust the intensity at the desire level Radiation meter Range: 0 to 1999 W/m 2 Power supply: DC To meas the radiation level on the collector External tanks 80 L To supply cold to the heating system

5 pump flow meter (for forced mode) Stop watch Anemometer Press Gauges Thermometers Power supply: AC Power: 0.5 hp Sensor: Flow range : 0.5 to 25 LPM Working voltage : 4.5 to 24 VDC Max. Press : 17.5 bar Working press : 0 to 10 bar Max rated current : 8 ma Withstand current : 15 ma Working temp : up to 80 C Storage temp : 25 to 65 C Accuracy : 1 % fsd Supply voltage- 230 V AC. With electronic On-Off switch and a Reset button Air velocity: Range : 0.4 to 45.0 m/sec Resolution: 0.1 m/sec Accuracy: (±2% m/sec) Air Temperat: Range: -14 to 60 C Resolution: 0.1 C Accuracy: 0.5 C Power supply:dc 4*1.5 AAA size Sensor: Range: 0 to 6 bar Accuracy: ±3 kpa Output: 4 to 20 ma (±3) Input: 4-20 ma DC Power: 220 VAC Sensor: Class A sensor Range: -200 to C Accuracy : ± *(t) Where t is absolute value of in C Range -100 to C Supply Voltage: 230AC To lift upto the desired level. To facilitate the forced mode operation. Mini turbine wheel based technology. To meas the flow rate during the forced mode operation. To detect the time during natural flow rate measment The anemometer can meas the air velocity and the ambient air. The air flow sensor is a conventional angled vane arms with low friction ball bearing. The sensor is a precision thermistor. Semiconductor thin-film based technology. Works on the principle of generation of electrical signal due to exertion of press. To meas the inlet and outlet press Sensor is RTD based platinum probe. Works on the principle of variation of resistance with. To meas the inlet, outlet, plate and tank 5 Page

6 Fan Range : 0 to 5 m/sec Power supply: AC with regulators To supply the wind at the desire speed Table-2: Detail Specification of the collector Overall data Overall collector dimension Mm 915X810 X95 Weight of the collector Kg 13 Apert Area m Glazing Glazing type and number Type of glass Toughened Glass Glazing thickness mm 3 Glazing transmission % 85 Glazing Emissivity % 88 Absorption plate Absorber material Copper Absorber plate thickness mm 0.12 Absorber plate dimension mm 115 Emissivity of surface % 12 Absorption of surface % 96 Risers & headers Number of risers 6 Riser dimension mm 800 Headers dimension mm 882 Test press kpa 400 Maximum working press kpa 250 Insulation Insulation material Rockwool Insulation density Kg/m 3 48 Insulation thickness-base mm 50 Insulation thickness-side mm 25 Conductivity W/mK 0.04 Casing Frame type Aluminum Box Frame colour Black Casing thickness mm 1.4 Insulated tank Tank type Non pressurized, Horizontal Tank materials SS 304 Tank insulation PUF Tested press kpa Tank size 815 X400 Overall Efficiency Ƞ % 80 % 6 Page

7 Important parameters of a flat plate collector based solar heating system: The performance of a solar heating system depends upon different design and atmospheric parameters. The meaning and importance of some of the most dominating parameters are described below. Overall Heat loss coefficient (U L ): All the heat that is generated by the collector does not resulted into useful energy. Some of the heat gets losses to the surroundings. The amount of heat losses depends upon the convective, conductive and radiation heat loss coefficients. Estimation of heat loss coefficient of the flat plate collector is important for its performance evaluation. A higher value of heat loss coefficient indicates the lower heat resistance and hence the lower efficiency. Among all heat loss parameters the top loss contributes the most. The top heat loss coefficient is a function of various parameters which includes the of the absorbing plate, ambient, wind speed, emissivity of the absorbing and the cover glass plate, tilt angle etc. Heat Removal Factor (F R ): Heat removal factor represents the ratio of the actual useful energy gain to the useful energy gain if the entire collector were at the fluid inlet. It depends upon the factors like inlet and outlet, the ambient, area of the collector etc. The importance of heat removal factors remains with the efficiency of the system. For a highly efficient system a higher value of heat removal factor is must. Efficiency (η): Efficiency is the most important factor for a system. This factor determines the system s output. For a flat plate collector based solar heater system the efficiency is defined as the ratio of the useful energy delivered to the energy incident on the collector apert. The value of efficiency is dominated by parameters like product of glazing s transmittance and absorbing plate s absorptance, intensity of global radiation falling on the collector, inlet and ambient air. Collector Time constant: Collector time constant is required to evaluate the transient behavior of a collector. It is define as the time required rising the outlet by of the total increase from at time zero to at time infinity i.e. time at which the outlet attains a stagnant value. It can be calculated from the curve between R and time as shown below. The time interval for which R value is 0.632, is the time constant of the give collector. 7 Page

8 In terms of s R is define as, R= Where, : at any time t : at time zero : at infinite time (maximum ) Shape of the graph between R and time is as shown below. Basic Equations to calculate different parameters: A. Heat Loss coefficient (U L ) U L is the overall heat transfer coefficient from the absorber plate to the ambient air. It is a complicated function of the collector construction and its operating conditions. In simple term it can be expressed as, U L = U t + U b + U e (1) According to Klein (1975), the top loss coefficient can be calculated by using the flowing formula. Where, 8 Page U t = + (2) C=365.9 ( β ) f= ( = v

9 The heat loss from the bottom of the collector is first conducted through the insulation and then by a combined convection and infrared radiation transfer to the surrounding ambient air. However the radiation term can be neglected as the of the bottom part of the casing is very low. Moreover the conduction resistance of the insulation behind the collector plate governs the heat loss from the collector plate through the back of the collector casing. The heat loss from the back of the plate rarely exceeds 10% of the upward loss. So if we neglect the convective term there will not be much effect in the final result. Thus to calculate the bottom loss coefficients we can use the following formula U b = (3) Typical value of the back surface heat loss coefficient ranges between 0.3 to 0.6 W/m 2 K. In a similar way, the heat transfer coefficient for the heat loss from the collector edges can be obtained by using the following formula U e =U b ) (4) B. F factors of a flat plate collector (F, F /, F R, F // ) 1. Fin efficiency (F) For a straight fin with rectangular profile the fin efficiency is given as F= (5) Where, m= F / = 2. Collector efficiency factor (F / ) Mathematically, F / = (6) F R = 3. Heat Removal Factor (F R ) 9 Page

10 Mathematically, F R = (7) Another formula for F R, F R = (8) 4. Flow Factor (F // ) It is the ratio of the heat removal factor (F R ) and the collector efficiency factor (F / ) Mathematically, F // = (9) The parameter is called the collector capacitance rate. It is a dimensionless parameter and the sole parameter upon which the collector flow factor depends. C. Collector Plate Temperat (T P ) At any point of time the collector plate is given as = + (10) Where, the useful heat gain is given as = ] (11) D. Thermal Efficiency of the collector (η) It is the ratio of the Useful heat gain to the Total input energy Mathematically, η= ] (12) E. Thermal Efficiency of the collector when angle of incident is not 90 0 ( ) The equation number (12) for the thermal efficiency is applicable for a normal incident angle situation. In a situation where angle of incident is not 90 0 we will have to add a new parameter in the equation number (12). The new parameter is known as incident angle modifier ( ). The necessity of ( ) is arises due to change in (τα) product. For a flat plate collector ( ) is given as 10 Page

11 = 1 ( 2 (13) For a single glaze collector we can use a single order equation with, = 1 ( Thus for a collector where angle of incident is not 90 0, the efficiency can be calculated by using the following equation, = ] (14) Experimental set up: The system has been designed to perform experiments in both Thermosyphonic and Forced modes of flow. Schematic diagram of the experimental setup: Description of different components: 11 Page

12 1. Radiation meter: To meas the radiation level that is received by the collector a radiation meter is supplied with the system. It is a sensing based device. It can meas the radiation level in the range of 0 to Thermometer Five thermometers are connected to the system. The Sensors are RTD based platinum probe and work on the principle of variation of resistance with. The probes are class A RTD and can meas the in the range of C to C. 3. Press Gauge Two press gauges are there in the setup. They work on the principle of generation of electrical signal by semiconductor device due to exertion of press. The press gauges can meas the press in the range of to 650 kpa. 4. flow meter To meas the flow rate a panel mount flow meter with a mini turbine flow sensor is connected near the collector inlet. It is a programmable meter. It can meas the flow rate in the range of 0.5 to 25LPM. The limit of the meter is up to 80 0 C. 5. Pump: We are using an AC pump to fill up the collector tank as well as to circulate the through the collector at some regulated speed. A continuous regulator is there to maintain the flow rate. 6. Anemometer An anemometer is supplied with the system. This can be used to meas the air velocity and the ambient air. The air flow sensor is a conventional angled vane arms with low friction ball bearing while the sensor is a precision thermistor. The anemometer can meas the wind velocity in the range of 0.4 to 45.0 m/s while the range is -10 to 60 0 C 7. Fan: One AC fan is integrated with the system to generate the artificial wind speed. To set the wind speed as per requirement a regulator is there in the main control unit. 8. Valve: Different valves are there to direct the flow as per requirement. Assumptions: To perform different experiments with this set-up a number of assumptions need to be made. These assumptions are not against the basic physical principles but simplify the problems up to a great extent. 1. The collector is in a steady state. 2. The headers cover only a small area of the collector and can be neglected. 12 Page

13 3. Heaters provide uniform flow to the riser tubes. 4. Flow through the back insulation is one dimensional. 5. Temperat gradients around tubes are neglected. 6. Properties of materials are independent of. 7. No energy is absorbed by the cover. 8. Heat flow through the cover is one dimensional. 9. Temperat drop through the cover is negligible. 10. Covers are opaque to infrared radiation. 11. Same ambient exists at the front and back of the collector. 12. Dust effects on the cover are negligible (if otherwise mention). 13. There is no shading of the absorber plate (if otherwise mention). CASE 1 Objective: Evaluation of U L, F R, η and drawing of different curves in forced mode of flow with different flow rate. Note: The minimum flow rate that can be measd by the flow meter is 0.5 LPM. So user should set the flow rate above 0.5 LPM. SlNo. VALVE NUMBER CONNECTION FUNCTION 1. 1 Cold tank 1 to pump To fill cold tank Pump to cold tank2 To fill cold tank Cold tank to hot tank To fill hot tank Hot tank to collector(natural Mode) Cold tank to hot tank Hot tank to pump(forced mode) Valve 1 should be in off position Pump to collector(forced mode) Natural mode of operation To drain hot tank Forced mode of operation (to supply to pump) To regulate flow in forced mode To regulate flow in forced mode 13 Page Pump to hot tank

14 1.1 Flow rate 0.5 LPM Methodology: 1. Fill the cold tank Close all valves except valve no. 3 and Once overflows the hot tank close all valves except valve no.6 and Switch ON the pump and set the regulator at the middle position. 5. See the flow rate on the flow meter screen (forced mode). 6. To get the required flow rate first open the valve No. 8 completely and then adjust the valve No Wait for some time to get a stable flow rate reading. 8. Once flow rate is set note all the readings. 9. Switch ON the wind generating fan and set the speed at the desire level. 10. To know the wind speed and ambient air use same methodology as in experiment No Switch ON the halogen system and set the radiation at the desire level. 12. To know the radiation level use same methodology as in experiment No Note all the readings after every 5 minutes. 14. Keep the pump ON throughout the experiment. Observations: Tilt angle of collector (β) deg Wind speed (v): Radiation level (I): Table -1.1: Values of different parameters in forced mode of flow with flow rate 1 LPM Sl No Time (t,min) Ambient Tempera t ( C) 0 Plate in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) press (, kpa) press (,kpa) 1.2 Flow rate 1 LPM 14 Page

15 Methodology: Same as experiment No.1.1 except setting the pump regulator for a flow rate 1 LPM Observations: Wind speed (v): Radiation level (I): Table -1.2: Values of different parameters in forced mode of flow with flow rate 1.5 LPM Sl No Time (t,min) Ambient Temperat ( 0 C) tempera t Plate tempera t ur e u re in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) press (, kpa) press (,kpa) 1.3Flow rate 1.5 LPM Methodology: Same as experiment No. 1.1 except setting the pump regulator for a flow rate 1.5 LPM Observations: Tilt angle of collector (β) deg Wind speed (v): Radiation level (I): Table -1.3: Values of different parameters in forced mode of flow with flow rate 2 LPM Sl No Time (t, min) Ambient Tempera 0 t ( C) Plate in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) pressur e (, kpa) press (,kp a) 15 Page

16 Calculations: 6. Calculate U L, F R and η for each cases 7. Calculate flow factor (F // ) for each cases. Results: Draw the following graphs: a. Efficiency v/s Mass flow rate b. v/s Mass flow rate c. Optimum flow rate 16 Page

17 d. Flow factor v/s Collector capacitance rate e. Plate v/s Mass flow rate f. Heat loss v/s Flow factor CASE 2 Objective: Evaluation of U L, F R, η in forced mode of flow at different radiation level 2.1 Maximum Radiation Level Methodology: 1. Fill up the cold tank 2 with at the desire 2. Close all valves excepts valve No. 3 and 4 1. Once overflows the hot tank close all valves except valve No.6 and 7 2. Switch ON the pump and set the regulator at the middle position 5. See the flow rate on the flow meter screen (forced mode) 6. To get the required flow rate adjust the valve No. 7 and 8 7. Wait for some time to get a stable flow rate reading 8. Once flow rate is set note all the readings 9. Switch ON the halogen system and set the Regulator for Radiation at the desire level 10. Note all the readings after every 5 minutes 11. Keep the pump ON throughout the experiment 17 Page

18 12. To know the radiation level, wind speed and ambient air use same methodology as in experiment No 1. Observation: Tilt angle of collector (β) deg Wind speed (v): Radiation level (I): Table -1.1: Values of different parameters in forced mode of flow with maximum radiation level Sl No Time (t,min) Ambien t Temper at 0 ( C) tempera t Plate temper at ur e u re in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) press (, kpa) press (,kpa) 1.2Medium Radiation Level Methodology: Same as experiment No. 1.1 except setting the halogen regulator for medium radiation level Observation: Wind speed (v): Radiation level (I): Table -1.2: Values of different parameters in forced mode of flow with medium radiation level Sl No 1 Time (t, min) Ambient Tempera 0 t ( C) Plate in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) press (, kpa) press (,kpa) 18 Page

19 Low Radiation Level Methodology: Same as the experiment No. 1.1 except setting the halogen regulator for low radiation level Observation: Tilt angle of collector (β) deg Wind speed (v): Radiation level (I): Table -1.3: Values of different parameters in forced mode of flow with low radiation level Sl No Time (t,min) Ambient Tempera 0 t ( C) tempera t Plate tempera t ur e u re in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) press (, kpa) press (,kpa) Calculation: 1. Calculate U L, F R and η for each cases as in Case.1 Result: Draw the efficiency graph for different radiation level CASE 3 Objectives: Evaluation of U L, F R, η in forced mode of flow at different wind speed 3.1 Low wind speed at 1 m/s ( average wind speed on the collector must be taken) 19 Page

20 Methodology: 1. Fill up the cold tank 2 with at the atmospheric. 2. Close all valves except valve no. 3 and Once overflows the hot tank close all valves except valve no.6 and Switch ON the pump and set the regulator at the minimum power at which the pump can work. 5. See the flow rate on the flow meter screen. 6. To get the required flow rate adjust the valve no. 7 and Wait for some time to get a stable flow rate reading. 8. Adjust the fan regulator to get the desire wind speed. 9. Once flow rate and wind speed are set note all the readings. 10. Switch ON the halogen system and set the radiation at the desire level. 11. Note all the readings after every 5 minutes. 12. Keep the pump ON throughout the experiment. 13. To know the radiation level, wind speed and ambient air use same methodology as in experiment no 1. Observation: Tilt angle of collector (β) deg Wind speed (v): Ambient Temperat ( : 0 C Radiation level (I): mass flow rate( ) Table 20: values of different parameters in forced mode of flow at low wind speed Sl No Time (t min) Ambient Tempera 0 t ( C) Plate in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) press (, kpa) press (,kpa) 3.2 High wind speed 20 Page

21 Methodology: Same as the experiment no. 3.1 except the inlet Observation: Tilt angle of the collector (β) deg Wind speed (v): Ambient Temperat ( : 0 C Radiation level (I): mass flow rate( ) Table 3.2: values of different parameters in forced mode of flow at high wind speed Sl No Time (t, min) Ambien t Temper at 0 ( C) Plate in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) press (, kpa) press (,kpa) Calculation: Calculate U L, F R and η for each case as in the experiment no.1 Draw the efficiency curve with different wind speed and all inlet parameters 21 Page CASE 4 Objectives: Evaluation of U L, F R, η in forced mode of flow at different incident angle (change in tilt angle) and all other parameter as in 1 st forced mode experiment 4.1 Tilt Angle(45 deg) Methodology: 1. Tilt the collector by 15 deg from its standard position with the help of the jack and make collector angle to be 45 deg. Check the collector angle before starting the experiment

22 2. Fill up the cold tank 2 with at the atmospheric 3. Close all valves excepts valve no. 3 and 4 4. Once overflows the hot tank close all valves except valve no.6 and 7 5. Switch ON the pump and set the regulator at the minimum power at which the pump can work 6. See the flow rate on the flow meter screen 7. To get the required flow rate adjust the valve no. 7 and 8 8. Wait for some time to get a stable flow rate reading 9. Adjust the fan regulator to get the desire wind speed 10. Once flow rate and wind speed are set note all the readings 11. Switch ON the halogen system and set the radiation at the desire level 12. Note all the readings after every 5 minutes 13. Keep the pump ON throughout the experiment 14. To know the radiation level, wind speed and ambient air use same methodology as in experiment no 1. Observation: Tilt angle of the collector (β) deg Wind speed (v): Ambient Temperat ( : 0 C Radiation level (I): mass flow rate( ) Table 4.1: values of different parameters in forced mode of flow with a small tilt angle Sl No Time (t min) Ambien t Temper at 0 ( C) Plate in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) pressur e (, kpa) press (,kp a) Methodology: 22 Page 4.2 Tilt Angle(60 deg)

23 Same as the experiment no. 4.1 except the setting the tilt angle for a medium value. Tilt the collector by 15 deg from its earlier position and make the collector angle to be 60 deg. Check the collector angle before starting the experiment. Observation: Tilt angle of collector (β) deg Wind speed (v): Ambient Temperat ( : 0 C Radiation level (I): mass flow rate( ) Table 24: values of different parameters in forced mode of flow with a medium tilt angle Sl N o Time (t min) Ambient Tempera 0 t ( C) Plate in the Storage tank mass flow rate (, ) press (, kpa) press (,kpa ) Calculation: Calculate U L, F R and η for each case as in the experiment No.1 and then calculate equation 14. by using Draw the efficiency graph with different tilt angle Nomenclats: : Area of the collector (m 2 ) : Area of the edge (m 2 ) : Bond conductance : Heat capacity of ( ) D: Outer diameter of the risers (mm) 23 Page

24 : Heat transfer coefficient between the and the riser wall : Radiation falling on the collectors per unit area ( ) k b, k e : Conductivity of the back and edge insulation ( ) k : Conductivity of the fin ( ) L : Collector s length (mm) : mass flow rate ( ) N: Number of glass cover : Ambient ( 0 C) : Plate ( 0 C) U t, U b, U e : Top, bottom and edge heat loss coefficient respectively. v: Wind velocity ( ) w: Distance between two risers (mm) x b, x e :Back and Edge insulation thickness (mm) τ 0 : Transmissivity of the glass cover α 0: Absorptivity of the absorbing plate : Emissivity of the absorbing plate : Emissivity of the glass cover σ: Stephen Boltzmann constant ( ) : Thickness of the fin (mm) : angle of incident (Deg) 24 Page

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