Parabolic Solar Collector, ANSYS Fluent CFD Simulation Tutorial

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  • The problem numerically simulates the Parabolic Solar Collector using ANSYS Fluent software.
  • We design the 3-D model by the Design Modeler software.
  • We Mesh the model by ANSYS Meshing software, and the element number equals 1475000.
  • We use thermal boundary conditions to apply the radiation effect.

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If you need the Geometry designing and Mesh generation training video for one product, you can choose this option.
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The journal file in ANSYS Fluent is used to record and automate simulations for repeatability and batch processing.
editable geometry and mesh allows users to create and modify geometry and mesh to define the computational domain for simulations.
The case and data files in ANSYS Fluent store the simulation setup and results, respectively, for analysis and post-processing.
Geometry, Mesh, and CFD Simulation methodologygy explanation, result analysis and conclusion
The MR CFD certification can be a valuable addition to a student resume, and passing the interactive test can demonstrate a strong understanding of CFD simulation principles and techniques related to this product.



This simulation is about parabolic solar collectors via ANSYS Fluent software. We perform this CFD project and investigate it by CFD analysis.

The present study deals with heat transfer within a pipe carrying water flow in a parabolic solar collector. In the present model, a water-flow pipe is exposed to solar radiation.

Behind the tube is a parabolic plate as the solar radiation absorber plate, which is responsible for absorbing the solar radiation energy and then reflecting it. This is the mechanism of a parabolic solar collector.

In this case, only a water flow pipe is modeled, such that the water pipe wall is divided into two upper and lower wall sections. The upper part of the wall is directly exposed to solar energy.

In contrast, the lower part of the wall is influenced by reflective energy from the parabolic absorber plates of the collector. Two different constant heat fluxes were applied on two walls. The tube wall is made of aluminum.

The geometry of the present model is drawn by Design Modeler software. This geometry is a semi-cylindrical tube since the model is symmetry. The tube consists of two layers, the thin outer layer acting as the tube wall and the inner portion as the fluid domain.

The model is then meshed by ANSYS Meshing software. The model mesh is unstructured, and 1475000 cells have been created.

Solar Collector Method

In this simulation, the energy model is activated because the main goal of this project is heat transfer. The radiation model can be used to model the current solar collector.

However, in this project, it is assumed that we have the amount of heat from the radiation to simplify the modeling process. Therefore, we use the collector walls’ constant heat flux boundary condition.

Solar Collector Result

After simulation, the contours of temperature, velocity, and pressure are obtained. The temperature contour shows that the heat from the solar radiation (constant heat flux) affects the water flow pipe inside the collector.

This effect causes the temperature of the water flowing inside the pipe to rise. In this way, the collector system works properly.


  1. Thea Bechtelar

    How does this simulation model the solar radiation?

    • MR CFD Support

      The simulation uses the Discrete Ordinates (DO) radiation model to simulate solar radiation accurately. This model considers the directional effects of radiation, making it suitable for solar collector simulations.

  2. Haylie Ebert

    How does the simulation model the heat transfer in the receiver tube?

    • MR CFD Support

      The simulation uses the energy equation to model the heat transfer in the receiver tube. This equation takes into account conduction, convection, and radiation, providing a comprehensive description of the heat transfer process.

  3. Mrs. Jody Auer III

    What are the advantages of using a parabolic solar collector?

    • MR CFD Support

      Parabolic solar collectors offer several advantages, including high efficiency, the ability to reach high temperatures, and the potential for direct generation of steam. They are particularly suitable for applications requiring high heat levels, such as industrial process heat and power generation.

  4. Dr. Anabel Cummerata

    Can this simulation predict the efficiency of the solar collector?

    • MR CFD Support

      Yes, the simulation provides insights into the temperature distribution and heat transfer rates, which can be used to calculate the efficiency of the solar collector.

  5. Mohamed Carter

    How does the simulation handle the reflection of solar radiation by the parabolic collector?

    • MR CFD Support

      Response: The simulation uses the specular reflection boundary condition to model the reflection of solar radiation by the parabolic collector. This condition assumes that the radiation is reflected in a single direction, like a mirror.

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