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Conical Solar Collector CFD Simulation by ANSYS Fluent

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In this project, heat transfer in a conical solar collector containing water fluid is simulated and analyzed.


This ANSYS Fluent project includes CFD simulation files and a training movie.

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Solar energy is the largest source of energy in the world. This energy is clean, cheap, and endless and can be found all over the world. Solar water heaters work by absorbing solar energy by collector plates, and their heating efficiency varies by type of collector. To provide hot water during the day and the night, hot water is kept in a double-sided reservoir with thermal insulation that can keep the water temperature up to three days without any changes in its temperature.

Conical Solar Collector Project description

In this project, heat transfer in a conical solar collector containing water fluid is simulated and analyzed. The cubic fluid domain consists of an inlet (velocity inlet type, 1m/s) and a pressure outlet. The conical collector consists of an inlet (mass-flow type, 0.0116 Kg/s) and a pressure outlet. It also has 1 layer of glass and 1 layer of steel to decrease convection heat transfer as much as possible. The conical solar collector absorbs the sunlight and warms the water inside its tank. Energy and radiation model (solar trace model) are activated and Standard  model with the use of standard wall function is exploited for fluid flow analysis. Simulations are done for two configurations: water inlet-outlet existence and non-existence (where no water is injected inside the tank and sunlight only warms the water inside the tank).

Conical Solar Collector Geometry and Mesh

The geometry for analyzing this simulation consists of a fluid domain and a conical solar collector. The geometry is designed in ANSYS design modeler® and is meshed in ANSYS meshing®. The mesh type used for this geometry is unstructured and the element number is 577397.

conical solar collector conical solar collector conical solar collector

CFD Simulation Settings

The key assumptions considered in this project are:

  • Simulation is done using pressure-based solver.
  • The present simulation and its results are transient. 60 time steps with a step size of 60 seconds are exploited for this simulation.
  • The effect of gravity has been taken into account and is equal to -9.81 m/s2 in Y direction.

The applied settings are summarized in the following table.

Viscous model k-epsilon
k-epsilon model standard
near wall treatment standard wall function
Energy model On
Radiation model On
Sun direction vector 45 and 90 degrees
(conical solar collector) Boundary conditions
Water inlet (if exists) Mass-flow inlet
Air inlet Velocity inlet

Water inlet (if exists)

Mass-flow 0.0116 Kg/s
Temperature 298.15
Turbulent intensity 5 %
Turbulent viscosity ratio 10

wind inlet

velocity 1 m/s
Turbulent intensity 5 %
Turbulent viscosity ratio 10
Outlets Pressure outlet
wall motion stationary wall
Adiabatic, adiabatic1, ground, pipe wall Heat flux 0 W/m2
Steel, glass Coupled glass’s thickness = 0.006m
Symmetry Semi-transparent
(conical solar collector) Solution Methods
Pressure-velocity coupling Simple
Spatial discretization pressure Second order
Density Second order upwind
momentum first order upwind
turbulent kinetic energy first order upwind
turbulent dissipation rate first order upwind
Energy First order upwind
(conical solar collector) Initialization
Initialization method   Standard
gauge pressure 0 Pa
velocity (x,y,z) (0,0,-10) m/s
Turbulent kinetic energy 0.3750001 m2/s2
Turbulent dissipation rate 83.74136 m2/s3
Temperature 298.15 K

Conical Solar Collector Results

Contours of pressure, velocity, temperature, streamlines and velocity vectors are presented for 4 different configurations.


All files, including Geometry, Mesh, Case & Data, are available in Simulation File. By the way, Training File presents how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.


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