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Research Papers

Numerical Analysis of Flat Plate Solar Air Heater Integrated With an Array of Pin Fins on Absorber Plate for Enhancement in Thermal Performance

[+] Author and Article Information
M. S. Manjunath

Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering,
Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal Academy of Higher Education,
Manipal 576104, Karnataka, India
e-mail: manjunath.ms@manipal.edu

K. Vasudeva Karanth

Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering,
Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal Academy of Higher Education,
Manipal 576104, Karnataka, India
e-mail: kv.karanth@manipal.edu

N. Yagnesh Sharma

Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering,
Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal Academy of Higher Education,
Manipal 576104, Karnataka, India
e-mail: yagnesh.sharma@manipal.edu

1Corresponding author.

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 August 4, 2018; final manuscript received March 25, 2019; published online May 2, 2019. Assoc. Editor: M. Keith Sharp.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 141(5), 051008 (May 02, 2019) (12 pages) Paper No: SOL-18-1360; doi: 10.1115/1.4043517 History: Received August 04, 2018; Accepted April 10, 2019

This paper presents a three-dimensional numerical analysis of a flat plate solar air heater in the presence of a pin fin array using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software tool ansys fluent 16.2. The effect of geometric parameters of pin fins as well as the flow Reynolds number (4000–24,000) on the effective efficiency is evaluated. The longitudinal pitch (PL) of pin fin array is varied as 30 mm, 40 mm, and 50 mm and the diameter (Dw) is varied as 1.0 mm, 1.6 mm, and 2.2 mm. The results show that the presence of pin fins generate considerable enhancement in fluid turbulence as well as heat transfer area to a maximum extent of about 53.8%. The maximum average increase in instantaneous thermal efficiency is found to be about 14.2% higher as compared with the base model for the fin diameter of 2.2 mm and a longitudinal pitch value of 30 mm. In terms of effective efficiency, the pin fin array exhibits significant enhancement, especially at lower flow rate conditions. Finally, the effective efficiency of the pin fin array is compared with the previous work of authors involving spherical turbulators and sinewave corrugations on the absorber plate. The results show that the pin fin array exhibits a relatively superior effective efficiency to a maximum extent of about 73% for lower flow rate conditions.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

(a) Geometric details of the air duct (all dimensions in mm) [34] and (b) overall view of the computational domain [34] (all dimensions in mm)

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Fig. 2

(a) Schematic diagram of the pin fin array attached to the absorber plate (inverted view of absorber) and (b) close-up view of a meshed portion of pin fin on the absorber plate and duct air domain

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Fig. 3

(a) Comparison of the Nusselt number results of CFD with the standard Dittus–Boelter equation and (b) comparison of the friction factor results of CFD with the standard modified Blasius equation

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Fig. 4

Comparison of instantaneous thermal efficiency for Dw = 1.0 mm, 1.6 mm, and 2.2 mm and PL = 30 mm for different flow Reynolds number

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Fig. 5

Pathlines of airflow over the pin fins

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Fig. 6

Pathlines of air flow across the pin fin for (a) Dw = 1.0 mm, (b) Dw = 1.6 mm, and (c) Dw = 2.2 mm at Re = 23,500

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Fig. 7

Comparison of contour plots of turbulent intensity (%) for flow across the pin fin for (a) Dw = 1.0 mm, (b) Dw = 1.6 mm, and (c) Dw = 2.2 mm at Re = 23,500

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Fig. 8

(a) Comparison of Nusselt number for various wire diameters and PL = 30 mm for different flow Reynolds number, (b) contour plot of the Nussselt number on the absorber plate with the pin fin array for Dw = 1.0 mm and PL = 30 mm (inverted view of absorber), (c) contour plot of the Nussselt number on the absorber plate with the pin fin array for Dw = 1.6 mm and PL = 30 mm (inverted view of absorber), (d) contour plot of the Nussselt number on the absorber plate with the pin fin array for Dw = 2.2 mm and PL = 30 mm (inverted view of absorber), and (e) the Nusselt number distribution along a curve on the fin surface for various diameters

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Fig. 9

Comparison of temperature contour plots of the absorber plate for various fin diameters at flow Reynolds number of 23,500: (a) base model, (b) with a pin fin of Dw = 1.0 mm, (c) with a pin fin of Dw = 1.6 mm, and (d) with a pin fin of Dw = 2.2 mm.

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Fig. 10

Comparison of heat loss from the absorber plate for various fin diameters and PL = 30 mm for different flow Reynolds number

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Fig. 11

Comparison of instantaneous thermal efficiency for Dw = 1.6 mm and various pitch distances for different flow Reynolds number

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Fig. 12

Comparison of heat loss from absorber plate to atmospheric air for various pitch distances and Dw = 1.6 mm for different flow Reynolds number

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Fig. 13

(a) Comparison of pumping power requirement for Dw = 1.6 mm and various pitch distances for different flow Reynolds number and (b) comparison of pumping power requirement for Dw = 1.0 mm, 1.6 mm, and 2.2 mm and PL = 30 mm for different flow Reynolds number

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Fig. 14

(a) Comparison of effective efficiency for Dw = 1.0 mm, 1.6 mm, and 2.2 mm and PL = 30 mm for different flow Reynolds number and (b) comparison of effective efficiency for Dw = 1.6 mm and various pitch distances for different flow Reynolds number

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Fig. 15

Comparison of pumping power demand of the pin fin array design with that of spherical turbulator [34] and sinewave corrugation designs [38]

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Fig. 16

Comparison of effective efficiency of the pin fin array design with that of spherical turbulator [34] and sinewave corrugation designs [38]

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