An Investigation of a Residential Solar System Coupled to a Radiant Panel Ceiling

[+] Author and Article Information
Z. Zhang, M. Pate, R. Nelson

Mechanical Engineering Department, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011

J. Sol. Energy Eng 110(3), 172-179 (Aug 01, 1988) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3268253 History: Received June 01, 1986; Revised March 01, 1987; Online November 11, 2009


An experimental study of a solar-radiant heating system was performed at Iowa State University’s Energy Research House (ERH). The ERH was constructed with copper tubes embedded in the plaster ceilings, thus providing a unqiue radiant heating system. In addition, 24 water-glycol, flat-plate solar collectors were mounted on the south side of the residence. The present study uses the solar collectors to heat a storage tank via a submerged copper tube coil. Hot water from the storage tank is then circulated through a heat exchanger, which heats the water flowing through the radiant ceiling. This paper contains a description of the solar-radiant system and an interpretation of the data that were measured during a series of transient experiments. In addition, the performance of the flat-plate solar collectors and the water storage tank were evaluated. The characteristics of a solar-to-radiant heat exchanger were also investigated. The thermal behavior of the radiant ceiling and the room enclosures were observed, and the heat transfer from the ceiling by radiation and convection was estimated. The overall heating system was also evaluated using the thermal performances of the individual components. The results of this study verify that it is feasible to use a solar system coupled to a low-temperature radiant-panel heating system for space heating. A sample performance evaluation is also presented.

Copyright © 1988 by ASME
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