You are on page 1of 9

Project L1: Prototyping and Characterization of Solar Absorbers with Spectrally Selective Coating

By: Tyler Tucker, Abhinav Jha, Brian McKenna, Ravinder Grewal, Fernando Ng-Chie


Project Outline & Goals:

Breakthroughs in solar energy absorbing materials has opened a demand for testing procedures and apparatuses. By coating bulk material, such as a stainless steel sample, with this spectrally selective material, it will be able to heat up to unprecedented temperatures when exposed to sunlight. The sample requires an enclosure, which will let in the suns radiation spectra, while simultaneously isolating it from its surroundings. An apparatus is being developed to accomplish these demands, taking into account optical transparency and heat transfer into its design. The project goal is to design, fabricate and test an enclosure that will be able to house a thermally selective material in a vacuum, while simultaneously exposing it to a one sun condition. The sample must be able to absorb as much sunlight as possible and remain thermally isolated from its surroundings. Materials selection is paramount in accomplishing these goals, a transparent material.


Project Task Descriptions:

The project design requires to investigate several important aspects such as preliminary heat transfer analysis, selecting proper material, CAD design of the apparatus and finally simulations to ensure the integrity of the apparatus.


Team Assignments and Organization:

Tyler Tucker- Solid works designer, steady state temperature calculations. Materials selection and purchasing. Abhinav Jha- Materials purchasing, Solid Works Brian McKenna- Femap heat transfer simulations, Apparatus stand design, collapsing pressure of vacuum tube calculations. Ravinder Grewal Thermally insulating materials research and purchasing. Fernando Ng-Chie- Solid works designer. Work to Date:

Work done has so far has been broken down into smaller sections.


Design Methods

Determining a material for a vacuum chamber:

Materials selection is paramount in accomplishing these goals, a transparent material. Using the materials database edupack 2011, proper material selection was established for finding a material to use for the vacuum chamber. Fused quartz is a transparent material that lets in infrared, visible light and some ultraviolet radiation. Sunlight at the Earths surface has an irradiance spectra, seen in figure 1, courtesy of

Figure 1: Solar Irradiance as a function of wavelength.

A material that can transmit as much of these wavelengths from nanometers is ideal. A transmittance curve for several optically ideal materials is provided in figure 2, courtesy of

Figure 2: Transmittance curves vs. wavelength for several materials.

Using either Fused silica or Fused quartz is ideal, since their transmittance values are high for the selective materials.

Creating a vacuum chamber:

A custom built chamber has been designed and a manufacturer is being sought out. The chamber is a test tube-like design, shown in figure 3 below.

Figure 3: Drawing of a fused quartz chamber

The open end of the chamber shall be sealed with a quick coupling, which is manufactured by Kurt J Lesker Company, show in figure 4. 4

Figure 4: Quick release coupling for attaching glass tubing

Kf-Vacuum seals will be welded to the coupling and will be able to create a vacuum, which will be maintained with a pump provided by Professor Chens Laboratory. A thermocouple be attached to the sample, so the temperature of the sample will be observed and recorded. The temperature of the sample has been estimated for further design of the tube, shown in the next section. The sample reaches high temperatures, which can damage the surrounding chamber. The sample must have thermally insulating material which should help isolate it from the surrounding chamber. Further analysis, and heat transfer simulations must be accomplished for an effective thermally insulating design.

Time dependent temperature for a emitting sample subject to a one sun condition in a vacuum:
The time dependent temperature information for a sample is desired for a vacuum chamber design. The vacuum chamber must house a sample that reaches a certain temperature in a certain amount of time. A simplified analytical model of the system should provide enough information for a sufficient design. The sample is modeled as a solid cylinder of stainless steel of mass, m and specific heat c. The cylinder is coated in a powder with an emissivity of . The sample is assumed be in a vacuum and is not in contact with its surroundings. Radiation due to sunlight is the only method of heat transfer. An energy balance is created to relate radiated heat flux to temperature. The net heat flux of the sample is given to be (1) Where is assumed to be a constant, A is the surface area of the entire sample. assuming the sample is a black body which radiates due to Stefan-Boltzmann law. is made by

(2) 5

Combining (1) and (2) and solving for power gives the following expression. (3) is Stefan-Boltzmann constant, T is temperature of the sample. The sample is able to absorb energy at the rate given by the relationship between heat and temperature of the sample. (4) Taking the differential of (4) gives the power of the sample. The only variable changing in (4) is temperature. (5) According to the conservation of energy, setting power equal to each other leads to (6) (6) The irradiative heat of a sample is equal to the rate at which a sample can accept. The sample will reach thermal equilibrium by eventually radiating its own heat source. The temperature of the sample is derived by treating (6) as a non-linear differential equation. (7)

Isolating the variables time t and temperature T to each side, and integrating the expression with a dummy variable yields (10)

Time is set to be the dependent variable, temperature is the independent variable. Rewriting (10) is desired for solving the integral.


(12) The right hand side of (11) is rewritten as (14) is decomposed using partial fractions. 6 (14) (13)

Reducing (15) using a table of integrals solves the integral. ( ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ))



Thus, the solution for time as a function of temperature is given in (17)

( (

( )

) )


Solving for Temperature has proven difficult. Plotting T vs t, and treating T as the independent variable can shows an asymptotic behavior for time T. The asymptote temperature is the steady state temperature of the sample.

Steady state temperature results:

After solving for time t for a range of temperatures, a plot is created of Temperature vs time, displayed in figure 1. The following conditions for figure 1 are shown in table 1; explanations for table 1 are described in the analysis section. Variable Value .025 1000 W/m^2 .0377 kg 502.1 J/kg-K

Table 5: Values for analysis results

Figure 6: Temperature vs. time.

For a sample with the conditions described in table 2, the sample should heat up to its maximum temperature of 900 Kelvin in approximately 30 seconds. Figure 1 is an ideal case however; the sample will be attached to material with low thermal conductivity. Furthermore, there will be contact resistance between the sample and its surroundings. Heat will be carried away from the sample due to conduction, the analytical results shown in figure 2 are therefore an underestimate.

Literature survey:
Solar incidence curve at the Earths upper atmosphere and surface provided by Fused quarts transmittance spectra table provided from Quick release coupling images provided by Kurt J Lesker Co. at