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.
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.