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1, February 2012
Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of Elliptical Heat Pipe Flat Plate Solar Collector
K. Sivakumar, N. Krishna Mohan, and B. Sivaraman
Subscripts Abstract—In the present study, the performance of an elliptical heat pipe solar collector has been investigated experimentally and theoretically. Solar flat plate collector, consists of transport tubes; but in a heat pipe solar collector, it is replaced by heat pipes and, it works as a heat exchanger in which evaporator and condenser section exist in same unit. The objective of the study is to find out the outlet temperatures of the heat pipe and condenser section and overall output condenser temperature, to find out the efficiency of the flat plate solar collector with this modification. Experimental and theoretical analysis of the effect of Lc /Le ratio of the heat pipe and different cooling water mass flow rates and different inlet cooling water temperature have been analyzed, and presented in this paper. Elliptical heat pipe with stainless steel wick has been fabricated and used as transport tubes in the collector. Copper tube has been used as working fluid of the heat pipe. These heat pipes were fixed to the absorber plate of the solar collector and the performance of elliptical heat pipe solar collector is studied and results were compared. Index Terms—Heat pipe, flat plate solar collector, solar water heater. a1 a c e hp i l L o p v absorber for a single heat pipe ambient condenser evaporator heat pipe inlet, inside liquid absorber surface to ambient outlet, outside pipe vapour
I. INTRODUCTION This research was conducted at Chidambaram 11°24’N 79°42’E, situated in the southern part of Indian peninsula of India, near the equator, the sub- tropical region of the northern hemisphere near the Coromandel coast where the prevailing hotness perceived mostly throughout the year except small rainy and winter season. Heat pipe is a device for heat transmission. It consists, as a rule, of the heat pipe filled with a certain amount of a suitable pure working fluid. The heat is transferred as latent heat energy by evaporating the working fluid in a heating zone and condensing the vapor in a cooling zone, the circulation is completed by return flow of the condensate to the heating zone through the inner wall of the container  schematic diagram of the heat pipe is shown in Fig.1. Hussein et al. studied the performance of wickless heat pipe flat plate solar collector having different cross section geometries and filling ratios. They investigated the water filling ratio corresponding to the flooding limit of the elliptical cross section and referred that it is very close to 35% for circular section significantly improves the performance of wickless heat pipe flat plate solar collectors at low water filling ratios. Riffat etal. studied thermal performance of a thin membranes heat pipe solar collector and the heat processes in different areas of the collectors were investigated and represented.
D a b Cp E F’ h
diameter, (m) semi-major axis length of elliptical tube, (m) semi-minor axis length of elliptical tube, (m) speciﬁc heat capacity,(J/kg K) overall effectiveness collector efﬁciency factor convection heat transfer coefﬁcient, (W/m2 K)
L m n ntu NTU Nu Q R T U e (τα) λ
insolation, (W/m2) thermal conductivity, (W/m K)
length, (m) mass ﬂow rate, ( kg/s) number of heat pipes number of transfer unit for one heat pipe number of transfer units for n heat pipe Nusselt number heat transfer rate, (W) thermal resistance (K/W) temperature, (oC) heat transfer rate coefﬁcient, (W/m2 oC) effectiveness transmittance–absorptance product latent heat, (J/Kg)
Manuscript received December 18, 2011; revised February 20, 2012. K. Sivakumar, N. Krishna Mohan and B. Sivaraman are with Mechanical Engineering, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, Tamilnadu India (email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com )
Fig.1. Heat pipe schematic
Azad  studied the thermal performance of heat pipe
For the elliptical tube a constant heat flux and with different orientation angles has been used. The manifold is us made up of galvanized iron when water is flow us through the manifold it picked up heat from the heat pipe condenser. In the solar collector five numbers of heat pipe was used. 4) The heat loss coefficient between the collector and the ambient is assumed to be constant. In the present study an elliptical heat pipe solar collector was designed constructed and investigated theoretically and experimentally under different water mass flow rates and inlet cooling water temperature. They found the temperature distribution along the flow direction and the thermo siphon mass flow rate. 3) A single panel of flat plate heat pipe collector can be considered as an array of heat pipes connected to a manifold. 2) The outlet temperature of the first condenser becomes the inlet water temperature of the second one. 5) The actual heat transfer rate for a single heat pipe Qhp .IACSIT International Journal of Engineering and Technology. and the optimum ratio of evaporator length and condenser length is also discussed.01 = 1 tp kp + 1 h c. Flat plate Elliptical heat pipe solar collector 1) In a collector with ‘n’ heat pipes. may be written as.01 ) ΣRhp = Ah p1U hp (Thp1 − Tc 01 ) (1) (2) U hp = 1 ΣRhp The heat transfer between a single heat pipe and the cooling liquid may be expressed as Qc1 = Ac1 U c. the water flows from one condenser to another. Maatouk knoukhi  studied the theoretical approach of flat plat solar collector taking into account the absorption and emission within glass cover layer and the thermal behavior and head loss from the solar collator. 01 (5) Fig. Abdul-Jabber  studied the performance of locally made flat plate collectors used as part of a domestic hot water system.01’ is the overall heat transfer co-efficient and can be written as U c. Hussein [5-6] studied theoretical and experimental investigation of wickless at pipes flat plate solar collector and optimum cooling water mass flow rate and number of heat pipes. Also the effect of ratio of evaporator length to condenser length also discussed. 01 = (Ti + PThp1 ) (1 + p ) U hp Ahp Ac1U c. THEORETICAL ANALYSIS Fig 2 shows the flat plate elliptical heat pipe solar collector. Elshazly et al  studied the heat transfer by free vertical and inclined elliptical tube.01 (4) p = where ‘Uc. 2. and so on. 87 tp and kp are the known parameters and heat transfer co-efficient hc. The Actual Heat Transfer Rate for a Single Heat Pipe Qhp1 Qhp1 = Ahp1 (Thp1 − Tc . Thermal behavior of flat plate heat pipe solar collectors was studied by various researchers [7-12].01 Tc. No. 4. A.  observed that there exists a minimum as well as a maximum storage volume for a given solar fraction and collector area.01 can be find from the following Nusselt number h Dhyd (6) Nu = k Or N k (7) hc . 1. Vol. which is the thermal energy transfer from 1 evaporator to the condenser section.o1 − Ti ( ) = Qhp1 (3) From equation (1) and (3) condenser outer surface temperatures may be written as II. February 2012 solar collector and the heat pipe solar collector is investigated theoretically and experimentally. Kulkarni et al. where Tc . Akhtar  studied the computation of glass cover temperatures and obtain the glass cover temperatures. = u 01 D hyd Hydraulic diameter for ellipse Dhyd = 4×π ab π 2⎜ ⎜ a +b ⎛ 2 ⎝ ( 2 ) − (a − b ) 2 ⎞ ⎟ 2 ⎟ ⎠ .
It is assumed that the flow inside the condenser of the heat pipes is thermally developed and therefore under constant heat flux boundary condition at the wall. p + Re. p – Thermal resistances across the thickness of the container wall (e-(heat pipe) evaporator section. p do di = 2 π k p le ln ⎡ g ρ ( ρ − ρ v ) k 3λ ⎤ l l h c. No. The resistance associated with the conduction process through the pipe wall is ( c – heat pipe condenser resistance. for single heat pipe as follows Qu . i. p do di = 2 π k p Lc ln (14) B. 1. ( e-evaporator.i π d i Lc (15) Re .is the thermal resistances that occurs at the vapour liquid interfaces in the evaporator and may me written as.wick + Re. the film coefficient is approximately equal to the thermal conductivity of the fluid divided by the wick thickness C. the Nusselt number may be written as Since.i + Rcp T (8) Rc .Thermal resistances across the thickness of the wick thickness (e. wick ⎞ ⎟ ln ⎜ ⎟ ⎜d i . Thermal Resistances Associated with the Condensing Process is Given by Rc. 4. D.at liquid –vapour interface) put (ntu ) hp1 We get Re .i = 1 hc. wick conduction resistances and internal resistance at the evaporator.i = 0.331 The outlet water temperature from the first condenser.i = where 2 π he d i Le he = kl t wick Aa1 F ' U L = mcp (12) (13) I (τα ) To1 − Ti Thp1 = Ta + − (ntu )hp1 UL ( ) (19) 88 . c .i .1 = Aa1F ' I (τα )e − U L (Thp1 − Ta ) Re . Heat from the evaporator section to the condenser section may be mathematically modeled by a number of thermal resistances ΣR = Re.(heat pipe) evaporator section) Re. wick . wick ⎛ d o .i + Rc. Heat Pipe Evaporator Resistance Within the evaporator section. Vol. can be calculated from thermal resistance analysis. The heat must then be conducted through the container wall surface. February 2012 The fluid flow in the manifold is considered to be fully developed laminar flow. wick ⎠ ⎝ = 2 π k wick Le [ ] (17) (10) Useful energy extracted in the form of heat by fluid flowing in the heat exchanger can also be expressed as Qu1 = mC p To1 − Ti Screen mesh structure is used in the evaporator section.IACSIT International Journal of Engineering and Technology.728 ⎢ ⎥ d i µ l ∆ Ti ⎢ ⎥ ⎣ ⎦ 1/ 4 (16) (9) E. p-at the container wall) The condensing film co-efficient may be obtained from the Nusselt analysis for film wise condensation Re. p – at the wall ) N u = 5. To Find Thp The rate of useful energy gained or collected and heat loss to the ambient may be modeled according to Hotel-Willer equation. These can be expressed in term of film coefficient he. 01 . Heat Pipe Condenser Resistances The vapour condenses on the inner section of the condenser releasing the latent heat of condensation. The effective thermal conductivity of the saturated wick may be calculated from the following equation ( ) (18) k wick = kl [kl + k s − (1 − ε wick )(kl − k s )] kl + k s + (1 − ε wick )(kl − k s ) By equating equation (17) and (18) Aa1F ' I (τα )e − U L (Thp1 − Ta ) (11) [ ] = mC p To1 − Ti ( ) Re . the thermal resistances which account for temperature drops are container wall. for a wick lined wall as in the case with evaporator.
the effectivenessNTU-equation for this condition will be as follows (16): the other fluid in cross flow.35 m. No. Eq.25m. To Find T01 In the condenser section of a single heat pipe heat exchanger. 0. the water flows from the condenser of one heat pipe to another. equation (23) in (19). 0. EXPERIMENTAL SET UP AND PROCEDURE In the heat pipe solar collector the sun rays passes through . ( )( )( ) (1 − ε n ) (26) Assuming equal effectiveness for all condensers. 3. since the vapour inside a heat pipe is almost at constant temperature. 1. 0. we get Ta + Thp1 = ⎛ p ⎞ ⎜ ⎟ (ntu )hp1 ⎝ 1 + p ⎠ UL ε1 ⎛ p ⎞ 1+ ⎟ ⎜ (ntu )hp1 ⎝ 1 + p ⎠ + I (τα ) ε1Ti TABLE I: HEAT PIPE SPECIFICATIONS Heat pipe material Copper Methanol CH3 OH 1.o1 mc p (21) ε1 = T01 − Ti Tc. Referring to fluid in series.IACSIT International Journal of Engineering and Technology. 4. CL will by definition be equal to infinity and as a result Cp/ CL=0.75m. Therefore. cold fluid is in cross flow with vapour flow inside the heat pipe. the overall effectiveness ‘E’ can be written as 1 − E = 1 − ε1 1 − ε 2 1 − ε 3 . (26) may be written as ε1 = 1 − e where − ( ntu ) c1 (20) 1 − E = 1 − ε1 ( )n (27) ( ntu ) cl = A c1 U c. (22). one fluid in series and 89 III. Vol. However. The outer water temperature of the first condenser becomes the inlet water temperature of the second condenser.Cross section view of the elliptical heat pipe G. . that is. for overall effectiveness of ‘n’ condenser. 0. Cp.65m.0 X 10-3m Working fluid Total length of pipe (Lt) Evaporator length (Le) Condenser length (Lc) Major axis of elliptical pipe (a) Minor axis of elliptical pipe (b) Thickness of pipe (t) (24) where (ntu )hp1 = F ' A01U L mc p For a collector with ‘n’ heat pipes as shown in fig. (21) may be rearranged in the following form: To1 = Ti + ε1 Tc . . ⎛ P ⎞ To1 = Ti + ε1 ⎜ ⎟ T − Ti ⎝ 1 + P ⎠ hp1 ( ) ⎛ p ⎞ 1+ ⎟ ⎜ (NTU )hp ⎝ 1 + p ⎠ = n (ntu )hp1 and NTU c = n (ntu )c1 (30) (23) where (NTU )hp (31) Substituting T01 in Tph1. ⎛ P ⎞ T0 (n ) = T0 (n − 1) + ε n ⎜ ⎜ 1+ P ⎟ ⎟ Thp (n ) − T0 (n −1) ⎝ ⎠ [ ] (25) Fig. 01 − Ti The overall effectiveness in term of temperature is given by To − Ti E= (28) Thp − Ti The water outlet and heat pipe temperature of the collector array are Eqn. and capacity rate. 01 (22) ⎛ P ⎞ To = Ti + E Thp − Ti ⎜ ⎟ ⎝1+ P ⎠ And − T hp = Ta + I (τα )e UL + E E Ti ⎛ p ⎞ ⎜ ⎟ (NTU )hp ⎝ 1 + p ⎠ ( ) (29) The condenser water temperature at the outlet of a single heat pipe is obtained from substituting yielding: into eqn. Thermal Analysis of Heat Pipe Array The final water outlet temperature for an array of ‘n’ heat pipes may also be obtained by a different approach.15m 26 X 10-3 m 16.00m 0.85m 0.7 X 10-3 m 2.01 − Ti ( ) Tc . its specific heat. For a collector with ‘n’ heat pipes the final temperature can be calculated from the following equation. February 2012 F.
24kg/hr.333 Lc/Le ratios. 30kg/hr and 36kg/hr on various days. Instantaneous variation of collector efficiency 0. 3 and 4. The observation of various parameters were measured and recorded from 9.IACSIT International Journal of Engineering and Technology. Instantaneous variation of collector efficiency with local time for 0.1764 Lc/Le ratios Fig. Wrapped screen wick structure with two layers of wick has been used in the heat pipe. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The theoretical and experimental results of the elliptical heat pipe solar collector have been compared. The heat pipe surface temperature. Fig. No. Experiments were conducted first with Lc/Le ratio 0. The solar collector is a flat plate collector having dimension of length 0. Inside the heat pipe a nontoxic liquid carries the heat to another end of the heat pipe. measured using thermocouples.3333 and 0.81m.83 m and breath 0. 0. 4. absorber plate temperatures and glass plate temperatures were 90 Figure. The cross sectional view of an elliptical heat pipe and a schematic diagram of the test rig are shown in Fig. respectively. Solar radiation is absorbed by the absorber plate and converted in to heat. Experiments were conducted on the designed elliptical heat pipe solar collector with different mass flow rate of 18kg/hr. 5. 1.5384 Lc/Le ratios. 6. Heat pipe then conduct the heat from evaporator section to condenser section water is circulated through the condenser section and the water gets heated up. aluminum sheet has been used as absorber material and is painted black paint. 4. Solar intensity at the test site was measured using EPPLY pyranometer. Similarly. The elliptical heat pipes have been brazed to the absorber sheet in such a way that the evaporator section of the heat pipe is in the collector and condenser section is protruding outside the collector. Instantaneous variation of collector efficiency for 0. the trials were conducted for Lc/Le ratio of 0. The condenser and evaporator length varied (ie Lc/Le ratio 0.2mm.00 pm.5384. February 2012 the glass to heat a copper heat pipe. Thickness of the absorber plate is 2mm. IV. 6 and 7. with local time .5384) in the experimental study.00 am to 4.1764. 7. The water circulated through the condenser section at inlet and outlet temperatures were measured by K-type thermocouple.3333 and 0.1764 with constant mass flow rate for various days and then mass flow rate has been changed. with local time for Fig. A comparison of the collector efficiency for steady state conditions as obtained by outdoor measurements and theoretical model is given in Fig. The specification of the heat pipe is given in Table I. Copper has been used as container material and stainless steel as wick material. Experimental setup for Elliptical HPSC The collector has been placed facing due south with a tilt angle of 11° to the horizontal. Vol. 5. Methanol has been used as a working fluid of the heat pipe. Five number of heat pipes have been used in the solar collector and placed over the absorber plate. and thickness of glass plate is 3. then the collector unit in which it is transferred through the water heating system.
Fig. 11.12. Variation of Time vs. The left scale represent the solar intensity and right scale represent the temperature. Fig. Fig. 11. Fig. 1. 12-14. 4. 8. Temperature distribution vs. Variation of Time vs. 8-10 gives the plot of experimental. 10. 6 and 7.5384. theoretical water outlet temperature and insolation on various days.IACSIT International Journal of Engineering and Technology. time for 0. Vol. number of heat pipe. Temperature and Intensity at Mass flow rate of 18kg/hr for Lc/Le .m and it may be due to fluctuation of solar insolation.1764 Lc/Le ratios Fig.333. 13. A comparison of elliptical heat pipe solar collector efficiency for steady-state conditions as obtained by outdoor measurements and by theoretical model given in Fig. 9. Variation of temperature vs.1764 Fig. The maximum difference between theoretical and experimental efficiencies occurs at 11:00 a. Temperature and Intensity at Mass flow rate of 18kg/hr for Lc/Le 0. The temperature of first heat pipe was 55°C and while that of last heat pipe was 65°C. The temperature and the theoretical water outlet temperature of heat pipes were plotted in Fig. Fig. Maximum efficiency of around 78% has been achieved during peak hours for a flow rate of 18kg/hr. time for 0. 5. No. Variation of temperature vs. Hence this theoretical estimation has been adopted to simulate the water outlet temperature for various mass flow rate conditions and Lc/Le ratio. 91 .333 Lc/Le ratios. The results are plotted as shown in Fig. As expected the heat pipe temperature and the water temperature increase generally from one heat pipe to the next. Variation of Time vs. Temperature and Intensity at Mass flow rate of 18kg/hr for Lc/Le 0. It has been fund that the difference between the theoretical and experimental water outlet temperature is within the acceptable limit. February 2012 The theoretical efficiency is given by equation ηthe]ory = m cp (To(n) – Ti) /AI To is the calculated water outlet temperature given by equation (29).
P.” Energy Conversion and Management. N.” vol. and 0. 1067 -1074. 2007.. 2002. N. pp. heat transfer..C. and computational fluid dynamics. Maatouk khoukhi.A.30. T.” International Energy Journal. Kedare.M.. Nada. M. Department of Mechanical Engineering has produced 5 Ph. 48.. vol..M.” Energy Conversion and Management. vol. 1.35 cm. R. Shireesh B.” Energy Conversion and Management. Hussein. 2007. pp. 1666 – 1672. 958 -968. India. “Analysis of Heat pipe Solar Collector with different Heat pipe Parameters. Ismail.” Energy.IACSIT International Journal of Engineering and Technology. H. B. K.85 cm & 0. S. 1986. 2003. pp.        V.. vol.aswathanarayana.81.24. vol. Hussein. The equations are formed for the theoretical analysis is accordance to the experimental setup and these equations are tested with experimental values.N. 0. Associate Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering has received his Ph. M. vol. p.Kulkarni. vol..11. “Transient analysis of a liquid solar collator . Also.46. 2045 – 2056.25 cm..2341-2352. 2005. vol.” Microelectronics Reliability. vol. N. E. El Ghetany..44 . 899-915. S.” Applied Thermal Engineering.S. No.a..40. 2006. Doherty. pp. 105-116. Six research scholars are currently pursuing their research under his guidance. equation and values simulations were performed and simulated values are presented in the figure…. H.pp. vol. “Theorelical approach of a flat –plate solar collector taking into account the absorption and emission within glass cover layer. Hussein. “Computation of glass –cover temperatures and top heat loss coefficient of flat –plate solar collectors with double glazing.” Energy Conversion & Management. pp. Assistant Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering has received his B. 25.D from Annamalai University.15. H.. Solar Energy.A. Hussein. 2007.15 cm respectively and mass flow rate of 18 kg/hr. Akhtar. M.” Applied Thermal Engineering. N. pp. yap chee kian. Quadir.Ds and guiding 8 research scholars. 32. Moawed. Heat pipe science and technology. A.1959-1968. He has published more than 28 research articles in International and National Journals. E. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Faculty of Engineering and Technology...M.“Optimization of a natural circulation two phase closed thermosyphon flat plate solar water heater. “Performance of a heat pipe solar collector” Journal of solar energy engineering. situated in the southernmost part of Indian peninsula of India. “Measurements and simulations of transient characteristics of heat pipes.” Heat Recovery System. 1539. Gilbert do Mey. India. Shigenao Maruyama. vol.tropical region of the northern hemisphere near the Coromandel coast where the prevailing hotness perceived mostly throughout the year except small summer and winter season. Boguslaw Wiecek.M.6. renewable energy. 109.    K. 1998. His present research interests include Heat pipe Solar Collector.” Energy Conversion and Management. With the help of graphs and tabulated values following inferences are drawn... Varadharju.S.     Fig.. vol. during 11 am to 2 pm. 30 kg/hr and 36 kg/ hr were taken for the present study. it is very low compare to heat pipe temperature and it shows heavy loss during the exchange of heat from working fluid to water.. M. Elshazly. Azad. B. Emare. Santanu Bandyopadhyay. Annamalai university. 32.. “Theoretical and experimental investigation of heat pipe solar collector.M. “Heat transfer by free convection from the inside surface of the vertical and inclined elliptic tube.  92 . M. pp.51-59. and Krishna Mohan. Sivaraman. 2006. 1995. E.S..75 cm & 0. K. REFERENCES   Faghri.. H. zahid Akhtar khan.6. pp. the solar intensity is high. pp.” experimental thermal and fluid science.5384 Lc/Le ratios..30. The outlet water temperature of experimental and theoretical value.R.“Experimental study of the performance of a solar collector cooled by heat pipes.1549. Krishna Mohan.. February 2012   Azad. though it follows the same trend.S. Mullick. He has published more than 12 research articles in He is International and National Journals and presented 5 research papers in International conferences. 120.H. Riffat. 255-258. F.A. 1177-1194..B. H. Sivakumar. Hussein. Evaporator and condenser length of 0. Sivaraman.. pp. In general. H. vol.Ghetany.S. Z. vol.8. CONCLUSION This research work was conducted at Chidambaram 11°24’N 79°42’E . Mass flow rate of 18 kg/hr is the best mass flow rate in this experimental setup compare to other mass flow rate. vol.14451463. Taylor+ Francis London. Zainal . Abdul –Jabbar. the elliptical heat pipe performed well under this condition. 1266 – 1272. His areas of research are solar energy and computational fluid dynamics. “Determination of design space and optimization of solar water heating systems.H.” Solar Energy.. 2005. the sub. G. 1995.” Energy Conversion and Management.S. Hammad. K. 2008. pp.” Solar Energy. The evaporator length and condenser length of 0. His areas of research are solar energy. vol.M. H. “An Experimental study of a co-axial heat pipe solar collator. pp. Moztarzadeh.. “Performance of a two phase closed thrmosyphon solar collector with a shell and tube heat exchanger.47. Abogderah. near the equator. Gyanaprakash. 14.” Renewable Energy. 4. Ibrahim. Variation of temperature vs. zheo. at this place. 2007. 2479 – 2492.35 cm performs well compare to other combination of evaporator and condenser lengths. “Transient investigation of a two phase closed thermosyphon flat plate solar water heater. 24 kg/hr.A. Then. pp. 2004..65 cm & 0. Govind N. 2005. 1825-1833. time for 0. pp. vol. pp. “performance of wickless heat pipe flat plate solar collectors having different pipes cross sections geometries and filling ratios. pp. S. “Developing a theoretical model to investigate thermal performance of a thin membrane heat pipe solar collector.. “Thermal performance of locally made flat plate solar collectors used as part of a domestic hot water system.43. El. 1999.“Theoretical and experimental investigation of wickless heat pipes plat plate solar collector with cross flow heat exchanger.E in Mechanical Engineering in 1998.115.E in Thermal Power in 2005 at Annamalai university. x. Seetharamu... pp. Nada. with the help of computer.Khalifa. Vol.46. S. vol. A. Professor and Head. 2005...65 cm & 0. Jaroslaw Legierski.
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