Research Papers

Radiative Heat Transfer Analysis in Plasmonic Nanofluids for Direct Solar Thermal Absorption

[+] Author and Article Information
Bong Jae Lee1

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon 305-701, South Koreabongjae.lee@kaist.ac.kr

Keunhan Park1

Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering,  University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881kpark@egr.uri.edu

Timothy Walsh

Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering,  University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881kpark@egr.uri.edu

Lina Xu

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science,  University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261


Corresponding authors.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 134(2), 021009 (Mar 06, 2012) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005756 History: Received March 10, 2011; Accepted December 15, 2011; Published March 01, 2012; Online March 06, 2012

The present study reports a novel concept of a direct solar thermal collector that harnesses the localized surface plasmon of metallic nanoparticles suspended in water. At the plasmon resonance frequency, the absorption and scattering from the nanoparticle can be greatly enhanced via the coupling of the incident radiation with the collective motion of electrons in metal. However, the surface plasmon induces strong absorption with a sharp peak due to its resonant nature, which is not desirable for broad-band solar absorption. In order to achieve the broad-band absorption, we propose a direct solar thermal collector that has four types of gold-nanoshell particles blended in the aquatic solution. Numerical simulations based on the Monte Carlo algorithm and finite element analysis have shown that the use of blended plasmonic nanofluids can significantly enhance the solar collector efficiency with an extremely low particle concentration (e.g., approximately 70% for a 0.05% particle volume fraction). The low particle concentration ensures that nanoparticles do not significantly alter the flow characteristics of nanofluids inside the solar collector. The results obtained from this study will facilitate the development of highly efficient solar thermal collectors using plasmonic nanofluids.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematic of a nanofluid-based solar collector. Inset shows the schematic of the Au nanoshell and its absorption spectrum. Absorption peak occurs by the coupling with the localized surface plasmon.

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Figure 2

Absorption (a) and scattering (b) coefficients of the GNS-blended nanofluid. Each GNS’s contributions to the overall absorption and scattering coefficients are denoted by dashed line. For comparison purpose, absorption and scattering coefficients of the Al (r = 2.5 nm) nanofluid are also plotted.

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Figure 3

Spectral solar irradiation versus the wavelength at various depths in the solar collector with the GNS-blended nanofluid at the total volume fraction 0.07%. The inset shows the volumetric heat generation at different locations in the solar collector.

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Figure 4

Predicted efficiency of the solar collector with the GNS-blended nanofluid (circular symbol) or the Al (r = 2.5 nm) nanofluid (square symbol) versus the volume fraction at ReH =10. For the GNS-blended nanofluid, the volume fraction means the total volume concentration of four types of GNSs. The inset shows the total absorptance in the solar collector as a function of the volume fraction.

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Figure 5

(a) Volumetric heat generation rates and (b) corresponding temperature distributions within the solar collector for different GNS concentrations. The plot is normalized for clear comparison. Note that Tb stands for the temperature at the bottom wall surface (i.e., y = H).

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Figure 6

Effect of Reynolds number on the average temperature increases across the channel and the corresponding collector efficiency




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