Step Solar Still by Solar Ray Tracing, Species Transport

$220.00 Student Discount

  • The problem numerically simulates the Step Solar Still by Solar Ray Tracing 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 809037.
  • We use the Species Transport model to define water and vapor.
  • The Solar Ray Tracing model is used to apply the heat absorbed by the sun.
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Geometry, Mesh, and CFD Simulation methodologygy explanation, result analysis and conclusion
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Step Solar Still by Solar Ray Tracing, Species Transport Model, ANSYS Fluent CFD Simulation Training

The present study investigates the performance of a step solar desalination unit by ANSYS Fluent software. We perform this CFD project and investigate it by CFD analysis.

The present model consists of a small chamber with a sloping glass surface on both sides and steps within it, where saline water flows on the surface of these steps.

Solar radiation heat transfer passes through the glass to the surface of the water in the enclosure to evaporate the water surface on the steep walls. The resulting vapor meets the cold glass surface and undergoes a distillation process.

Pure water from hot vapor distillation moves down the slope of the glass plate and discharges as pure water.

The present model is designed in three dimensions using Design Modeler software. Since the geometry is symmetric, only one-quarter of the geometry is modeled. This quadrilateral geometry consists of two sloping glass and steps carrying water flow.

The meshing of the model has been done using ANSYS Meshing software. The element number is 809037.


To convert the saline water into fresh water, it should be turned into vapor; then, by condensing it, fresh water is obtained. The distillation devices normally comprise a sloped glass layer placed on top of the device and a stepped platform for storing saline water that will be distilled.

The glass layer acts as a hard substrate and a transparent layer that allows sun rays to enter the device. The heating process for obtaining vapor from saline water is generally done using the heat absorbed from solar rays in the distillation devices.

Next, the generated vapor can be condensed into fresh water by rising and colliding with the glass substrate, which acts as a cold surface. Hence, the solar ray tracing model is enabled to simulate the heat absorbed by the sun.

Also, the species transport model is activated to simulate the two phases of water and vapor inside the designed distillation system. It should be mentioned that this method assumes a mixture of water and vapor inside the chamber interior and does not simulate distilled water flow.

In fact, at the beginning of the simulation, the space inside the chamber is filled with vapor only; the bottom plane of the chamber is considered the surface of the water, and since the water evaporates on the surface, it is assumed that the surface consists of vapor.

Constant values of 1.00314⨯10-5 m2/s and 0.0002 kg/ms are considered for the mass diffusion coefficient and the thermal diffusion coefficient, respectively, to convert water into vapor and vice versa.

It is also assumed that the sloping plate where the steam collides is composed only of vapor. It is also assumed that the ambient air temperature is 311.75K with a heat transfer coefficient of 25W/m2K.

The stepped platform containing saline water is assumed only to absorb heat with no transmissivity, while the glass substrate is assumed to have maximum transmissivity with no absorbance.

Gravity has been enabled in the Y direction, and the incompressible ideal gas model accounts for the density difference between water and vapor.

Step Solar Still Conclusion

At the end of the solution process, three-dimensional contours related to the velocity, temperature, velocity vector, and species mass fraction inside the distillation device are obtained.

The contours related to velocity and its vectors show how the generated vapor rises within the distillation device to hit the top sloped glass surface.

Also, by viewing the 3D temperature contour, it can be easily observed that the temperature of saline water on the stepped platform has increased, making it evaporate.

Meanwhile, the temperature of the glass layer is cold enough to cause the vapor to condense and then slip to the lower part of the distillation device, where the freshwater is collected.

Also, by viewing the species mass fraction contour, it can be seen that the mass fraction of water is equal to one on the stepped platform and glass substrate. At the same time, the water volume fraction value decreases inside the distillation system space, indicating that vapor is forming there.


  1. Avatar Of Heber Gerhold Phd

    Heber Gerhold PhD

    How does the simulation manage the heat transfer process within the solar still?

    • Avatar Of Mr Cfd Support

      MR CFD Support

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

  2. Avatar Of Ava Roberts

    Ava Roberts

    Is it possible to utilize this simulation to enhance the design of a step solar still?

    • Avatar Of Mr Cfd Support

      MR CFD Support

      Yes, the simulation can provide valuable insights into the effects of various design parameters on the performance of the solar still, which can be used for optimization purposes.

  3. Avatar Of Mrs. Melyna Reynolds Iii

    Mrs. Melyna Reynolds III

    Can this simulation predict the productivity of the solar still?

    • Avatar Of Mr Cfd Support

      MR CFD Support

      Yes, the simulation provides insights into the temperature and humidity distribution, as well as the rate of evaporation and condensation, which can be used to predict the productivity of the solar still.

  4. Avatar Of Mrs. Alfreda Towne Ii

    Mrs. Alfreda Towne II

    How does this simulation model the evaporation and condensation processes?

    • Avatar Of Mr Cfd Support

      MR CFD Support

      The simulation uses the mass transfer model to simulate the evaporation and condensation processes. This model is based on the principle of conservation of mass and takes into account the temperature and humidity conditions inside the still.

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