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Research Papers

Life Estimation of Pressurized-Air Solar-Thermal Receiver Tubes

[+] Author and Article Information
David K. Fork1

John Fitch

 Google, Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View, CA 94043fitch@google.com

Shawn Ziaei, Robert I. Jetter

1

Corresponding author.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 134(4), 041016 (Oct 19, 2012) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007686 History: Received February 27, 2012; Revised September 19, 2012; Published October 19, 2012; Online October 19, 2012

The operational conditions of the solar-thermal receiver for a Brayton cycle engine are challenging, and lack a large body of operational data unlike steam plants. We explore the receiver’s fundamental element, a pressurized tube in time varying solar flux for a series of 30 yr service missions based on hypothetical power plant designs. We developed and compared two estimation methods to predict the receiver tube lifetime based on available creep life and fatigue data for alloy 617. We show that the choice of inelastic strain model and the level of conservatism applied through design rules will vary the lifetime predictions by orders of magnitude. Based on current data and methods, a turbine inlet temperature of 1120 K is a necessary 30-yr-life-design condition for our receiver. We also showed that even though the time at operating temperature is about three times longer for fossil fuel powered (steady) operation, the damage is always lower than cyclic operation using solar power.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Simplified schematic of a Brayton cycle solar-thermal power plant

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Figure 2

Tube section schematic illustrating cross-wall thermal gradient

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Figure 3

Look-down receiver architecture

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Figure 4

Tube temperatures versus distance

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Figure 5

Temperature and pressure time series for the daylight portion of a diurnal cycle, including five cloud events

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Figure 6

Stress allowed for alloy 617

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Figure 7

Minimum creep rate correlation for alloy 617

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Figure 8

Strain relaxation rate correlation for alloy 617

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Figure 9

Creep-fatigue interaction diagram for alloy 617

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Figure 10

Component stresses calculated using the creep model at the ID of a receiver tube during the first 2 cloudy days of operation at a peak temperature of 1250 K

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Figure 11

Equivalent stress calculated for steady, cloudy and sunny operation during the first two days of simulation using the inelastic creep model. The peak ID temperature is 1250 K.

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Figure 12

Equivalent stress at the ID calculated during days 88–90 using the inelastic creep model and a peak 1250 K temperature

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Figure 13

Equivalent inelastic strain at the ID calculated during the first 80 days the inelastic creep model and a peak 1250 K temperature

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Figure 14

Equivalent stress calculated during days 78–80 days of simulation using the inelastic creep model for the four simulations cases in Table 1

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Figure 15

Equivalent inelastic strain calculated during days 0–80 days of simulation using the inelastic creep model for the four simulation cases in Table 1

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Figure 16

Equivalent inelastic strain calculated during days 0–2 using the inelastic relaxation model for the four simulation cases in Table 1

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