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Research Papers

Thermal Performance of the U-Tube Solar Collector Using Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulation

[+] Author and Article Information
Rim Farjallah

Unité de Thermique et Thermodynamique
des Procédés Industriels,
Ecole Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Monastir,
Route de Ouardanine,
Monastir 5000, Tunisia
e-mail: farjallah_rim@hotmail.com

Monia Chaabane

Unité de Thermique et Thermodynamique
des Procédés Industriels,
Ecole Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Monastir,
Route de Ouardanine,
Monastir 5000, Tunisia
e-mail: monia.chaabane@yahoo.fr

Hatem Mhiri

Unité de Thermique et Thermodynamique
des Procédés Industriels,
Ecole Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Monastir,
Route de Ouardanine,
Monastir 5000, Tunisia
e-mail: hatem.mhiri@enim.rnu.tn

Philippe Bournot

IUSTI,
UMR CNRS 6595,
5 Rue Enrico Fermi,
Technopôle de Château-Gombert,
Marseille 13013, France
e-mail: philippebournot@yahoo.fr

Hatem Dhaouadi

Faculté des Sciences,
Université de Monastir,
Unité Chimie Appliquée &
Environnement—UR13ES63,
Monastir 5000, Tunisia
e-mail: hatem.dhaouadi@fsm.rnu.tn

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received December 28, 2015; final manuscript received August 17, 2016; published online September 20, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Werner Platzer.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 138(6), 061008 (Sep 20, 2016) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-15-1450; doi: 10.1115/1.4034517 History: Received December 28, 2015; Revised August 17, 2016

In this paper, we propose a numerical study of a tubular solar collector with a U-tube. A three-dimensional numerical model is developed. It was first used in order to study the efficiency of the solar collector and to evaluate the validity of the developed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model by comparison with experimental results from the literature. For the numerical simulations, the turbulence and the radiation were, respectively, modeled using the standard k–ε model and the discrete ordinates (DO) model. This numerical model was then used to carry out a parametrical study and to discuss the effect of selected operating parameters such as the fluid mass flow rate, the absorber selectivity, and the material properties. Numerical results show that with the increase of the working fluid flow rate from 0.001 kg/s to 0.003 kg/s, the efficiency of the solar collector is improved (from 30% to 35%). Numerical results also show that the filled-type evacuated tube with graphite presents a best result in comparison with those found using the copper fin tube (η increases from 54% to 64%). Finally, we noted that the use of a high selective absorber surface adds to better performance in comparison with the black absorber tube. This is mainly due to the radiation losses reduction.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

U-tube solar collector

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Fig. 2

Mesh generated at the outer tube

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Fig. 3

Mesh generated at the U-tube

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Fig. 4

Boundary conditions

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Fig. 5

Validation of numerical results with experiments

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Fig. 6

The variation of temperature difference with the inlet temperature

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Fig. 7

Temperature contours in the U-tube

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Fig. 8

The streamlines in the U-tube

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Fig. 9

Influence of the variation of the mass flow rate

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Fig. 10

The variation of the temperature difference with the inlet temperature

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Fig. 11

Pressure drop at a given flow rate

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Fig. 12

The filled-type U-tube solar collector

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Fig. 13

Efficiency comparison

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Fig. 14

The variation of the temperature difference with the inlet temperature

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Fig. 15

Selectivity effects (absorber tube)

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Fig. 16

The variation of the temperature difference with the inlet temperature

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