Investigation and Modelling of Thermal Conditions in Low Flow SDHW Systems

Louise Jivan Shah

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    The purpose of this study was to characterise the thermal conditions in low flow SDHW systems. As the heat storage has proved to be the most important system component, there has been an emphasis on this component in the study. A literature survey revealed that the mantle tank heat storage type is one of the most promising storage designs and therefore only the mantle tank is investigated in this study.To optimise the design of mantle tanks and low flow SDHW systems, it was found necessary to understand how the thermal stratification is built up in the heat storage. In addition, it was necessary to model the flow and heat transfer in the tanks. Due to the complexity of the problems, CFD-models were used to take mantle tanks into calculation. Two CFD programs were used to model the mantle tank: CFX and Fluent. As the CFD-models formed the basis for the theoretical work, they were validated with experiments. In this study, both thermal measurements and experimentally visualised flow patterns were compared with CFD-predictions. The experimental flow visualisation was carried out with Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). With a transparent glass mantle tank, the structures in the mantle were visualised and compared with the CFD-predicted flow structures in the mantle. The results showed that the mantle flow was highly dominated by buoyancy and the CFD-models were able to model this flow. With a steel mantle tank, different dynamic thermal experiments were carried out in a heat storage test facility. These results were used to evaluate the CFD-predicted temperatures. Inner tank and mantle outlet temperatures were compared to the similar CFD-predictions and a good degree of similarity was found between measured and calculated temperatures.With the verified CFX models a parameter analysis was carried out. Based on this analysis, two Nusselt-Rayleigh heat transfer correlations were developed - one for the convective heat transfer in the mantle and one for the convective heat transfer in the inner tank. The correlations were used for developing a simulation program for low flow SDHW systems - MANTLSIM. This simulation program predicts the yearly thermal performance of low flow SDHW systems based on mantle tanks. MANTLSIM was verified and afterwards used as a tool for parameter analysis. This analysis showed that MANTLSIM predicted expected tendencies. Only for the mantle gap variations, results in poor agreement with earlier studies were found. Based on the work in this study it can be concluded that:· CFD is a powerful tool for analysing flow and heat transfer structures, and it was very useful in the mantle tank investigations· It is possible to extract detailed CFD results and implement them into less detailed numerical models· The simulation program MANTLSIM, which was developed in the study may be used as a tool for system design and analysis Keywords:Domestic solar heating, low flow, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Particle Image Velocimetry, dimensional heat transfer analysis, system modelling and simulation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages207
    Publication statusPublished - 1999

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