The objective of this work is to theoretically and experimentally investigate the flow and temperature distribution in a solar collector panel with an absorber consisting of horizontally inclined strips. Fluid flow and heat transfer in the collector panel are studied by means of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) calculations. Further, experimental investigations of a 12.5 m(2) solar collector panel with 16 parallel connected horizontal fins are carried out. The flow distribution through the absorber is evaluated by means of temperature measurements on the backside of the absorber tubes. The measured temperatures are compared to the temperatures determined by the CFD model and there is a good similarity between the measured and calculated results. Calculations with the CFD model elucidate the flow and temperature distribution in the collector. The influences of different operating conditions such as flow rate, properties of solar collector fluid, solar collector fluid inlet temperature and collector tilt angle are shown. The flow distribution through the absorber fins is uniform if high flow rates are used. By decreased flow rate and decreased content of glycol in the glycol/water mixture used as solar collector fluid, and by increased collector tilt and inlet temperature, the flow distribution gets worse resulting in an increased risk of boiling in the upper part of the collector panel.
- computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
- buoyancy effects
- flow distribution
- solar collector