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Project Report

for the partial fulfilment of Bachelor of Technology


ABHILASH (10214210001)
BHASKAR UNIYAL (10214210014)
MUKUL KAUSHIK (10214210029)
PARDEEP KUMAR (10214210035)

Under the Guidance

(Asst. Prof. of Mechanical Department, Senior Grade)
SRM University, Delhi-NCR, Sonepat, Haryana
May, 2018

This is to certify that project entitled “FLAT PLAT COLLECTOR” by Mr. Mukul
Kaushik, Mr. Pardeep Kumar, Mr. Abhilash, Mr. Avinash Kumar Pandey and Mr.
Bhaskar Uniyal, under the guidance of Prof. Ashok Kumar Mishra was completed
for completing the bachelor of technology in mechanical.

---------------------------- ----------------------------------

Mr. Ashok Kumar Mishra

(External Examiner) (Guide of the project)

First and foremost, I want to express my recondite sense of gratitude and

indebtedness to my Report supervisors, Mr. Ashok Kumar Mishra whose
continuous encouragement and guidance has been the source of inspiration
throughout my research program.
I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Mr. Ashok Kumar Mishra.

ABHILASH (10214210001)
BHASKAR UNIYAL (10214210014)
MUKUL KAUSHIK (10214210029)
PARDEEP KUMAR (10214210035)

(B.Tech Mechanical Engineering

4th Year, 8th Semester, 2018)
S.No Topic Page No
1. Introduction 05

2. Literature Survey 14

3. Design and Development 18

4. Performance of Flat Plate 20

5. Reference 22
Chapter 1
1.1 Basic introduction
 A solar thermal collector collects heat by absorbing sunlight. Solar
collectors are either Concentrating or Non-Concentrating.
 Concentrated solar power systems generate solar power by using mirrors or
lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, onto a
small area. Example: - parabolic dish
 In the Non-concentrating type, the collector area (i.e., the area that intercepts
the solar radiation) is the same as the absorber area (i.e., the area absorbing
the radiation). In these types the whole solar panel absorbs light. Flat plate
collector falls under non concentrating collector.
 A flat plate collector is a device used as a heat exchanger to raise the
temperature of the working fluid which is generally air or water by
transferring heat of flat plate to the working fluid.
 A Flat-plate Solar Collector (FPC) is a widely used solar energy collection
device for applications that require heat at temperatures below 80°C. A
typical liquid FPC consists of a selectively black coated absorber plate of
high thermal conductivity (such as copper or aluminium), one or more
transparent covers, thermal insulation, heat removal system and outer
 The transparent cover reduces the convective and radiative heat losses from
the absorber plate to the surrounding. To achieve operating temperatures
higher than 80°C, two glass covers may also be used. The heat collected by
the absorber plate is extracted by circulating a working fluid through the
riser tubes attached to the absorber plate, which are further connected to a
larger pipe called header at both ends.

Fig 1.1 – Solar Flat Plate Collectors

1.2 Working principle
The principal behind a flat collector is simple. If a metal sheet is exposed to solar
radiation, the temperature will rise until the rate at which energy is received is
equal to the rate at which heat is lost from the plate; this temperature is termed as
the ‘equilibrium’ temperature. If the back of the plate is protected by a heat
insulting material, and the exposed surface of the plate is painted black and is
coved by one or two glass sheets, then the equilibrium temperature will be much
higher than that for the simple exposed sheet.
The transparent glass on the top of the collector panel minimizes thermal losses,
through convection and thermal radiation hence causing green house effect.
1.3 Components
 Glazing which may be one or more sheets of glass or other transparent
 Tubes, fins or passages for conducting or directing the heat transfer fluid
from the inlet to the outlet.
 Absorber plate which may be flat, corrugated or grooved with tube, fins or
passages attached to it.
 Header or manifolds, to admit and discharge the fluid.
 Insulation which minimizes the heat loss from the back and sides of the
 Container or casing which surrounds the various components and protects
them from dust, moisture etc.

Fig 1.2 – Components of Solar Collector

1.3.1 Glazing:
To reduce convective and radiative heat losses from the absorber, one or two
transparent covers are generally placed above the absorber plate. They
usually are made from glass or plastic. In colder periods glazed collectors
with heat exchangers transfer fluids enabling them to absorb sunlight a lot
more effectively than unglazed collectors. Glazing over the absorber of a
collector is required to trap the solar radiation through the so called ‘green
house effect’. An ideal cover should have maximum transmissivity for solar
radiation; Apart from this the cover should be of low cost, durable, and high
abrasion resistant, weather resistant, etc.

Fig 1.3 - Glazing

1.3.2 Absorber plate:
It is usually made of copper, steel or plastic. The surface is covered with a
flat black material of high absorptance. If copper or steel is used it is
possible to apply a selective coating that maximizes the absorptance of solar
energy and minimizes the radiation emitted by the plate. Generally used
coatings include black silicon paint, black copper, black chrome etc.

Fig 1.4 – Absorber Plate

1.3.3 Flow passages:
The flow passages conduct the working fluid through the collector. If the
working fluid is a liquid, the flow passage is usually a tube that is attached to or
is a part of absorber plate. If the working fluid is air, the flow passage should be
below the absorber plate to minimize heat losses. It is usually made of copper or

Fig 1.5 – Flow Passage

1.3.4 Insulation:
Insulation is needed in solar thermal collectors to trap and concentrate heat
energy. By avoiding thermal losses through the rear and the sides of the
collector, insulation optimizes the efficiency of the collector, enabling the
maximum amount of collector heat to be transferred to the circulating fluid.
Materials generally used are fiberglass, Cellulose, glasswool, stonewool etc.

Fig 1.6 - Insulation

1.3.5 Enclosure:
A box that the collector is enclosed in holds the components together, protect
them from weather, facilitates installation of the collector on a roof or
appropriate frame. They are made of insulators of heat like wood, plastic, fiber
1.3.6 Blower:
A blower is a mechanical device for moving air or other gases. The terms
"blower" and "squirrel cage fan" are frequently used as synonyms. These fans
increase the speed and volume of an air stream with the rotating impellers.

Fig 1.7 - Blower

1.4 Types of flat plate Air collector

1.4.1 Based on shape of flow passages:

1. Parallel tube solar collector: In this type of solar air collector 2 types
of tubes are used called main fold tubes and the raiser tubes. The air
enters and exits the setup through main fold tubes and attached to smaller
diameter raiser tubes aligned parallel to each other.


2. Serpentine solar collector: In this type of solar collector there is a single

tube bent like a snake. In this type of solar collector small area can have
various turns hence setup can be made compact.

Fig 1.9
3. Trickle type solar collector: In this type of solar collector no tube is
used instead metal plate is bent for passage for air.
1.4.2 Based on design:-
1. Unglazed Air Collectors: The term "unglazed air collector" refers to a
solar air heating system that consists of an absorber without any glass or
glazing over top. This technology was invented and patented by Canadian
engineer John Hollick of Conserval Engineering Inc. in the 1990s.

Fig 1.11 – Unglazed Solar Collector

2. Glazed Air Collector: In this type of collector a transparent material is
used to trap the heat inside the collector for more heat transfer. Generally
used material for glazing is glass, Acrylic sheet etc.

Fig 1.12 - Glazed Solar Collector

1.5 Application, Advantage and limitations

This flat plate collector can be used for various purposes:
 Domestically, it can be attached on roof and through air ducts the room
temperature can be maintained in winters.
 Agriculturally, It can be used for rising temperature of green houses for
plants and crops which need more warm temperature to grow.
 Commercially, the hot air can be used as dryer in laundry houses, car wash
 Similar to domestic, they can be used in offices and restaurants to maintain
warm temperature.
The flat plate collector has some advantages over other solar collectors:
 The design is simple hence maintenance is easy.
 Cost of instalment is less than other solar products
There are also some disadvantages of flat plate collector:
 Efficiency is very low
 Low output temperature
1.6 Some basic information
Sun intensity: Sun intensity refers to the amount of incoming solar energy, or
radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. The angle at which the rays from the sun
hit the Earth determines this intensity. The sun’s angle -- and hence intensity --
varies significantly depending on a particular spot’s geographic location, the time
of year, and the time of day.

Fig 1.13 – Insolation Time Graph

 The intensity of sun is maximum during noon and varies through whole day.
 Intensity is measured by the instrument called pyranometer Average annual
solar radiation arriving at the top of the Earth's atmosphere is roughly 1361
W/m2. The Sun's rays are attenuated as they pass through the atmosphere,
leaving maximum normal surface irradiance at approximately 1000
W/m2 at sea level on a clear day.
 India is endowed with rich solar energy resource since it is located in the
equatorial sun belt of the earth. Theoretically India’s solar power reception
is about 5000 trillion kWh/year with about 300 clear sunny days in a year.
The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7
kWh/m2 with about 2,300–3,200 sunshine hours per year, depending upon
location. This is far more than current total energy consumption.
Chapter 2
Literature Survey
In recent years, few authors have studied different feature of solar collector
systems using various approaches. For example, Kurtbas and Durmus have studied
the solar air heater for different heating purposes whereas, Luminosua and
Farab and Torres-Reyes et al, have studied the optimal thermal energy conversion
and design of a flat plate solar collector using exergy analysis
 William H. Goettl (1977):
The first solar thermal collector designed for building roofs was patented by
William H. Goettl and called the "Solar heat collector and radiator for
building roof”. William Goettl filed for a patent for the Solar Heat Collector
& Radiator for Building Roof on February 7, 1977 and his patent published
on July 4, 1978. The design was made for heat collecting and heat radiating
roof structure for use in collecting solar energy and/or for use in radiating
unwanted heat to the far sky; the disclosure relating specifically to a roof
construction having rafters and duct means intermediate the rafters with
return and delivery channels or passages through which air may be
circulated to collect heat from the sun's rays, which may be absorbed by the
roof structure, or to reject heat at night to the far sky if desired.

 John Hollick (1980): A professional engineer by training and creative

inventor by choice, Conserval Engineering CEO John Hollick has one of the
longest track records of anyone in the solar renewable arena. He first
developed a glazed solar air collector that was used in the 1980s for
industrial applications. The concept of using an unglazed and perforated
metal collector panel came about in the 1990s in response to a desire to a)
simplify solar heating; b) make it less costly; and c) increase the
architectural versatility of the panels. Prior to the invention of the unglazed
transpired collector, solar collectors were always designed and built with
exterior glazing, which would either be glass or plastic, and it was thought
that this was the only way to trap the heat from the sun and convert it into
useable energy. John Hollick began to experiment with designing a solar
collector using a standard building material, which would have the
advantage that it would be building integrated, less expensive and easier to
install, and would therefore have the potential to be adopted on a more
widespread in the mainstream construction industry.

 Ozturk and Demirel (2004): They experimentally investigated the thermal

performance of a solar air heater having its flow channel packed with
Raschig rings based on the energy and exergy analyses. Average daily net
energy and exergy efficiencies were found to be 17.51 and 0.91%,
respectively. Also, the energy and exergy efficiencies of the packed-bed
solar air heater increased as the outlet temperature of heat transfer fluid

 Kurtbas and Turgut (2006): They investigated the solar air heater with free
and fixed fins using exergy analysis. In this study each of the fins with
rectangular shape was having two different surface areas and located on the
absorber surface in free and fixed manners. In the first type, the fins were
located on the absorber surface in a way that the fins are able to move freely,
while in the second type model fins were fixed to the absorber surface. The
absorber surface area was 1.64 m2 while the fixed and free fins with 8 and
32 items were having surface areas 0.048 and 0.012 m2respectively.
Therefore the total fin area in the absorber surface was equal to
0.384m2.They found that the fins located in flow area increases the heat
transfer coefficient and output temperature of air due to which collector
efficiency increases too. Also they found that there exists a reverse
relationship between exergy loss ratio and collector efficiency as well as
temperature difference of the fluid. Thus if there is increase in the pressure
drop, both heat transfer and exergy loss were also found to be
enhanced, while it has been observed that the exergy loss ratio was affected
less because heater has very little pressure drop.

 Ucar and Inallı (2006): They worked on the solar air collectors with
passive augmentation techniques using exergetic analysis. In order to
provide better heat transfer surfaces suitable for the passive heat transfer
augmentation techniques different shape and arrangement of absorber
surfaces of the collectors were reorganized. The performance of such solar
air collectors with staggered absorber sheets and attached fins on absorber
surface were analyzed and tested. It has been found that the efficiency of
solar collector has been increased approximately 10% to 30% as compared
with the conventional solar collector using the passive techniques. In
conventional solar air heater, only a little part of solar energy absorbed by
the collector can be used therefore the performance of the conventional solar
air heater was found to be least..

 Potdukhe and Thombre (2007): They designed, fabricated, simulated and

also tested a solar dryer fitted with a novel design of absorber having inbuilt
thermal storage capabilities. The length of operation of the solar air heater
and the efficiency of the dryer were increased, and better quality of
agricultural products in terms of color value was obtained compared with
open sun drying.

 Kurtbas and Durmus (2007): They designed a new solar air heater and
evaluated it on the basis of exergy analysis. In their study they used five
solar collectors with dimensions of 0.9x0.4 m and the flow line increased
where it had narrowed and expanded geometrically in shape. These
collectors were set to four different cases with dimensions of 1x2 m.
Therefore, heating fluids exit the solar collector after at least 4.5 m
displacement. According to the collector geometry, turbulence occurs in
fluid flow and in this way heat transfer is increased. In this study they
found that the efficiency of the collector enhances with the increase of mass
flow rates due to an enhanced heat transfer to the air flow and also increase
in efficiency depends on the surface geometry of the collector and extension
of the air flow line. Collector efficiency, temperature difference of the air
and pressure loss is the more important parameters in order to decrease the
exergy loss.

 MacPhee and Dincer (2009): They worked on thermodynamic analyses of

the process of charging of an encapsulated ice thermal energy storage device
(ITES) through heat transfer. The energy efficiencies are found to be more
than 99%, whereas the thermal exergy efficiencies are found to vary
between 40% and 93% for viable charging times. The results confirm the
fact that energy analyses, and even thermal exergy analyses, may lead to
some unrealistic efficiency values.
 Gupta and Kaushik (2010): They presented a comparative study of various
types of artificial roughness geometries in the absorber plate of solar air
heater duct and their characteristics based on energy, effective and exergy
efficiencies. The performance evaluation for some selected artificial
roughness geometries in the absorber plate of solar air heater duct in terms
of energy efficiency, effective energy efficiency and exergy efficiency has
been carried out at various values of Reynolds number (Re). In this study the
correlations for heat transfer and coefficient of friction developed by
respective investigators have been used to calculate efficiencies. From the
study it has been found that the artificial roughness on absorber surface is
the better option in the enhancement of the efficiencies in comparison to
smooth surface. The energy efficiency was found to be increased in the
following manner: smooth surface, circular ribs, V shaped ribs, wedge
shaped rib, expanded metal mesh, rib-grooved, and chamfered rib–groove.
The effective efficiency also found to be following the same trend of
variation among various considered geometries however trend was reversed
at very high Reynolds number. The exergy efficiency based criteria also
follows the same pattern; but the trend was reversed at relatively lower value
of Reynolds number and for higher range of Reynolds number the exergy
efficiency approaches zero or may be negative.

Objective of Work

From the above Literature Survey, we find out following objective of our research:

1. Design and fabrication of solar flat plate collector.

2. Find out the test result of fabricated flat plate collector
Chapter 3
Design And Development
The design of flat plate collector is quite simple. It consists of 5 levels.
 First level is the outer enclosure. We made the enclosure by wood since it is
insulator of heat hence retain better heat than any metal enclosure.
 The second level consists of insulation. We used thermocole since it retains
heat cost effectively as it is cheap. It surrounds the back and sides of the
 The third level is the most important level as the flow passages and blower
falls under this level. We used copper tubes for flow passages which are
connected directly to the fourth level.
 The fourth level is the black metal sheet. We used steel sheet for this
 The final level is the glazing. For this we wanted a transparent material so
we used thin acrylic sheet. There is some 10cm gap between fourth and fifth
level for retaining better heat.

Fig 3.1 – Design of Fully Assembled Collector

Fig 3.2 – Design of Unassembled Collector

3.1 Working
In FLAT PLATE COLLECTORS Sunlight passes through the glazing and strikes
the absorber plate which heats up i.e. changing solar energy into heat energy. This
heat is transferred to the fluid passing through pipes attached to the absorber plate
by means of convective heat transfer. The collector outlet thus provide with hot
3.2 Technical Specifications
Length x Width x Height of collector 635x609x200 mm
Aperture Area 0.386m2
Absorber plate area 0.35m2
Number of main fold tubes 2
Tubes main fold length 625mm
Diameter of main fold tubes 50mm
Number of raiser tube 5
Raiser tube length 350mm
Diameter of raiser tube 12.7mm
Insulation material Thermocole
Enclosure material Wood
Glazing material Acrylic sheet
Glazing area 0.380m2
Thickness of glazing 2mm
Transmittance of glazing 92%
Angle of inclination 45°
Fluid used Air
Blower Dc 24 volts
Flow rate 0.81m3
Chapter 4
Performance Of Flat Plate Collector
4.1 Experimental readings

S.No Reading time Air temp before Air temp after

entering exiting collector
collector(°C ) (°C )
1. 8 Am 35 36
2. 10 Am 37 39
3. 12 pm 42 45
4. 2 pm 42 46
5. 4 pm 40 42
 The flat plate collector is the cheapest, compact, and easily manageable
device. It works fine for small scale works. Although it is less efficient but it
completes the requirement of customer. It can only be used for low
temperature purposes.
 According to experiment it gives 2 to 4°C raise in air temperature.

4.2 Summary
The summary is as follows
 The flat plate collector is a mechanical device which raises the temperature
of the fluid flowing in the metallic tubes by the mode of heat transfer with
energy source being sunlight.
 The main components are glazing, metal plate, flow passage, insulation,
blower or pump and enclosure.
 There Are 3 types of flat plate air collector according to shape of tubes-
parallel, Serpentine and Trickle.
 According to design there are two types of design- Glazed and unglazed
solar collector.
 William H. Goettl developed the first solar collector.
 John Hollick developed the first solar flat plate air collector.
 The flat plate collector can be used for household purposes like washing,
bathing etc, it can also be used for agricultural purposes for maintaining
temp for growth of food products

Fig 4.1 Flat Plate Air Collector

5. Reference:

 P.K Nag Thermodynamics

 P.K Nag Heat Transfer
 Wikipedia
 Google
 John Hollick
 William H. Goettl