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Analysis of flat plate air collector

Group No. 41
Student Name Roll No.
Abhishek tyagi 1519240012
Neeraj kumar 1519240131
Omprakash kumar 1519240139
Tapan yadav 1519240248
Vinay singh 1519240261

Under the Guidance of

Guide Name Signature

Dr.Sumit Tiwari


Table of Content

1. Introduction
2. Motivation
3. Project Description
4. Experimentation
5. Requirement for the project
6. Expected cost estimation
7. Gantt chat

The nature has given us energy in many forms and this energy plays and key role in the industrial
and economic growth of a country. The continuous growth of population and rising
industrialization need large amount of energy to quench their thirst of energy. Environmental
degradation with use of fossil fuels is very dangerous to life on earth. In view of world’s depleting
non-renewable reserves and environmental threats, development of technologies which make use
of renewable energy sources is important. Among many renewable energy sources, solar energy
is huge energy source for meeting the demand and is ever lasting. The freely available solar
radiation provides an infinite and non-polluting reservoir of fuel. The Earth receives 174 petawatts
(PW) of incoming solar radiation (insolation) at the upper atmosphere. Approximately 30% is
reflected back to space while the rest is absorbed by clouds, oceans and land masses. The easiest
way to utilize solar energy for heating applications is to convert it into thermal energy by using
solar collectors. Flat-plate solar air collectors are extensively used as low temperature energy
technology which have attracted the attention of a large number of scholars and scientists. Several
designs of solar air heaters have been developed over the years in order to improve their
performance. Generally, there are two types of flat-plate solar heating collectors; water heating
collectors and air heating collectors. The pace of development of air heating collector is slow
compared to water heating collector mainly due to lower thermal efficiency. Conventional solar
air collectors have poor thermal efficiency due to high heat losses and low convective heat transfer
coefficient between the absorber plate and flowing air stream. Attempts have been made to
improve the thermal performance of conventional solar air collectors by employing various design
and flow arrangements.

Flat plate air collector is the key component of active solar-heating system. It gather the sun’s
energy and transform its radiation into heat, then transfer that heat to a fluid (air in our case). The
heated air from the collector can be used for the application of space heating and crop drying and
in chemical industries under forced mode of operation with air as a working fluid. There are
generally 2 types of solar collectors:

Flat plate collector – The absorbing surface is approximately as large as the overall collector area
that intercepts the sun’s radiations.

Concentration collectors– Large area of mirrors or lenses focuses the sunlight onto a smaller
The motivation for doing this project was primarily an interest in undertaking a challenging project
in an interesting area of research i.e. how to use solar energy more efficiently. The fact is that the
Sun is the source of life and energy to all living creatures on the earth for millions of years. Energy
is a vital need in all aspects and due to the increasing demand for energy coupled with its inefficient
consumption, the environment has been polluted either directly or indirectly. To prevent this from
becoming a global disaster, it is inevitable to strengthen efforts of energy generation and utilization
using sustainable means and progressively substituting the fossil fuels for renewable sources of
energy. Solar energy has experienced a remarkable development in recent years because of cost
reduction due to technological development and this is what have led us to make flat plate air
These types of systems can be used for:
1. Active solar space heating
2. Crop drying
3. In HVAC industry
4. Dryers

3. Project description

3.1 Flat plate collector

Flat-plate collectors consist of a black flat-plate absorber which has high absorptivity, a transparent
glass cover that reduces heat losses and allows the transmittance of solar radiations, a heat-
transport fluid (air, antifreeze or water) to remove heat from the absorber, the fluid should have
high heat transfer coefficient and a heat insulating backing. The absorber consists of a thin absorber
sheet (of thermally stable polymers, aluminium, steel or copper, to which a matte black or selective
coating is applied) often backed by a grid or coil of fluid tubing placed in an insulated casing with
a glass or polycarbonate cover which allows the radiation to fall upon the absorber plate. If the
incident sunlight is increased by the use of a reflector. Flat plate collectors easily attain
temperatures of 40 to 70ºC. With very careful engineering using special surfaces, reflectors to
increase the incident radiation, and heat-resistant materials, higher operating temperatures are
feasible. The main components of a flat plate solar collector.

3.2 Single Flow Single Pass Studies

Researches about the heat transfer and fluid characteristics of a solar air collector whose duct is
packed with wire mesh screen matrices. By using a wide range of geometrical parameters of wire
mesh screen matrices such as wire diameter, pitch and number of layers the experiments were
conducted. The solar air heater collector dimensions were 2390 x 25 mm. Double glasses with a
distance of 20 mm were used as glazing and the wire mesh packing was placed between the second
glass cover and the back plate. In the study, the heat transfer was represented by employing
Colburn-j factor. Generalized correlations were developed based on the data. It was concluded that
the heat transfer coefficient and friction factor were depending on wire mesh geometry such as
wire diameter, pitch and number of layers of the matrix.

Scientists investigated the performance of a natural convection solar air heater with a rectangular
finned absorber plate. The study aimed to achieve an empirical model which predicts various
significant variables for natural convection solar air heaters. The Nusselt number correlations for
such finned devices were also obtained in the study. By conducting the exergy analysis, the
conditions were reached that give the maximum efficiency for the system were also determined.
The collector frame dimensions were 2000 x 1000 x 150 mm. A black painted galvanized-iron
plate was used as an absorber plate with a thickness of 1 mm. A total of 46 rectangular fins were
attached to the absorber plate which was 20 mm apart from each other. The attached fins were
2000x10mm with a thickness of 1 mm. A single glass cover with a thickness of 4 mm was used
as glazing. The conclusions stated that a longitudinal rectangular fin arrangement enhanced the
heat transfer of solar air heaters and in this study the heat transfer area was increased by 66%
whereas heat transfer was increased by 20% approximately.

Theoretically and experimentally studied the performance of a solar air heater collector with fins
attached to the absorber plate both. They aimed to enhance the thermal performance of the solar
air heater with a cheap and accessible collector design that has a long durability. For doing so, an
experimental setup was installed in which 25 pin-finned collectors and a flat plate clear collector
were discussed. The pin-fins sizes were 10, 20, 30, 40, 45 mm in length and 12, 16, 20, 24, 28 mm
in width. 4 mm thick single glazing with dimensions of 1100 x 580 mm was used above the finned
absorbers. The absorber plate used was black painted stainless steel. A mathematical model was
developed to evaluate the performance of pin-finned collector in theory. Thus, with theoretical
calculations, the mathematical formulations of thermal efficiencies of a total of 26 collectors were
obtained. The conclusion stated that, with 19 m3/h air flow rate, the pin-fin arrangement in a solar
air collector could increase the heat transfer coefficient up to three times when compared with flat-
plate collector.

3.3 Double Flow Single Pass Studies

Scientists constructed a single glazed solar air heater with an integrated flat-plate collector
which had composite–absorber systems (a removable mild steel screen absorber and a fixed
wooden plate) in one collector frame. Many removable absorber plates, made from materials (such
as metals and plastics) with different thermal and other characteristics were also used
interchangeably in the same collector system to achieve the desired temperature and rate of air
heating under the prevailing meteorological conditions. The collector could convert solar radiation
to thermal power in the absence of the removable absorber plates. A drying chamber for food
dehydration was attached with the solar collector heater. The objective of this study was to preserve
fruit spoilage using a simple solar dryer which utilizes solar radiation. The collector was in
dimensions of 810 x 625 mm. The performance of the dryer was determined based on the moisture
content, pH and ascorbic acid of fresh and dried mango samples. It was found that the air heater
raised the temperature of the drying air from approximately 31.7 to 40°C around noon, and reduced
the moisture content of sliced fresh mangoes from about 85 to 13% on wet basis, while the ascorbic
acid percent was retained at 74%. The designed air heater had achieved efficient drying of fresh
mangoes slices and relatively high retention of ascorbic acid.

Scientists experimentally calculated the energy efficiencies of three types of double flow solar
air heaters with aluminium cans. Three types of absorber plates were used which were made of
stainless steel with black chrome selective coating. The dimensions and plate thickness for three
collectors were 2140 m x 840 m and 1 mm, respectively. Normal window glass of 5 mm thickness
was used as glazing materials. Single cover glass was used in all three collectors. The cans were
staggered as zigzag pattern on the absorber plate in the first type (Type I), while they were arranged
in order in Type II. Type III was a flat plate without cans. It was observed that the heat transfer
area was enhanced for the collector with cans, and consequently, the efficiency of the solar
collector was increased. At the end of the experiments, the highest efficiency was obtained for
Type I (Fig 10) at 0.05 kg/s mass flow rate. The testing results always yielded higher efficiency
values for the Type I (non-arranged cans) model than that for the Type III (without cans) flat-plate
Scientists investigated the performance of a solar air collector with an absorber plate that was
made of recyclable aluminium cans (RAC). To achieve the designed parameters of the
experimental setup a simulation model was made and examined. Also, numerical studies were
conducted for the flow characteristics. The solar air collect was of 2000 x 700 x 180 mm in
dimension and made of a steel frame. A total of 128 recyclable aluminium cans were used in the
experimental setup. The sanded recycled aluminium cans were then glued to the absorber surface
before being painted black. The cans formed eight circular cross-sectional flow channels in the
solar collector and for each channel 16 blackened recyclable aluminium cans were used. Single
glass with a thickness of 4 mm was used to cover the system. The conclusions included the
enhancement in the efficiency of a solar collector by using recyclable aluminium cans that are
easily available and are cheap. The maximum efficiency that was obtained by using RAC ‘s was
74 %.
Fig.5 cad modelling

4. Experimentation:
Solar energy collectors are devices employed to gain useful heat energy from the incident solar
radiation. For solar energy crop drying applications, the solar flat plate air collectors provided the
desired temperature elevations techno-economically than the more complex, concentrating
collectors. A simple solar energy collector consisted basically of an absorbing surface usually
painted black which absorbed the solar radiation and transmitted it in the form of heat to a working
fluid. An experimental set-up will be designed and tested in G.l.bajaj institute of technology and
management, Greater noida located in Delhi/NCR region with latitude of 29°48' N, longitude of
70°50'E and altitude of 202 m. The studied solar energy system is a flat-plate solar air heater
with a single air flows between the absorber and the bottom plate placed on the insulator.
The collector is placed on a stand facing south.

The main Components of the above fabricated system are explained as follows:
1. Casing
2. Layer of Insulation
3. Absorber plate
4. Glazing cover
5. Piping Network
6. Support Structure
7. Measuring devices

1) Casing: A wooden casing of dimensions (1.00m x1.00 m x 0.02m) is made for outer frame
work of the collector. It surrounds and protects the foregoing components employed in the
system. Casing keeps the components free from dust and moisture.

2) Layer of Insulation: A thin layer of glass wool (it sustain the temperature of 2000 𝑐) of
8cm thickness is placed at the bottom of the casing. The insulation helps to minimize the
conduction losses from bottom and sides of the casing. The collector can be insulated by
different types of insulating materials.

3) Absorber Plate: A thin sheet of Alumunium is coated with a highly selective material that
is extremely efficient at absorbing, reflecting the sunlight and converting it into usable heat.
The main function of absorber plate is to absorb the incident solar radiation to gain heat
and then allowing efficient transfer of heat to the working fluid.

4) Glazing Cover: Glazing cover is a transparent cover which limits the radiation and
convection heat losses. glass plate of 4mm thickness is used. The transparent cover is
placed at top of the collector to minimize the losses due to convection.

5) Piping Network: The tube is use to pass or transfer the fluid inside the system and conveys
the cool air and hot air to the desire junctions.

6) Support Structure: Support structure is made up of wood. The support structure is

fabricated in such a way that it could with stand wind loads, stress loads etc. It is also
designed so that it could minimize the alignment errors. The provision of manual tracking
is also there in the support structure.
The experimental part is concerning an air typical solar collector with an area A=1.0 mx1.0m.
The collector consists of a glass cover of 4 mm thickness, a blackened absorber plate located at
80mm of the cover and an insulation on the back and sides of the collector.

Fig.6 Flat Plate Air Collector


The stepwise experimental procedure which will followed during the experiment is as follows:
Step 1: All the components of the Flat Plate Solar Collector are gathered and assembled together.
Step 2: The arrangement is placed at the open place on the clean sky days in the local cell of
latitude of 29°48' N, longitude of 70°50'E and altitude of 202 m.
Step 3: Cleaning of the absorber plate, flow tube and glazing cover is done to remove the dust
particles and moisture content.
Step 4: The collector is exposed to the sun, using tracking support, before start of the experiment.
Step 6: While the Air is passing through the collector the ambient temperature, Inlet temperature
and outlet temperature of air are noted down.
Step 7: Each experiment is conducted for 1 hour duration by maintaining constant flow rate of
Step 8: The readings are taken after every hour and are tabulated.
Step 9: The experimental procedure is repeated for the next day.

Various fabrication process are used to make flat plate collector. In carpentry shop wooden box
is made. Baffles are inserted at inlet to divide air flow. Stand will made in drilling and welding
shop. Stand body supporting wooden box will be made by welding and fastened to wooden box.
To make the collector easy for transportation legs were not welded instead they were drilled to
facilitate fastening so that they can be easily removed at the time of transportation. Absorber plate
was made in sheet metal shop and then painted with black colour.
Fabrication procedure:
These are the following procedure of fabrication ,
1. Carpentry: In the carpentry shop we will made the wooden box of the dimension of 1.00
m x 1.00 m x .02m by using the carpentry tool.
2. Painting: We paint the wooden box and all the parts which are needed.
3. Welding: In the welding shop we will made the support structure, which will used in to
support the entire set-up on a particular angle.
4. Fill the glass wool in thickness of 8cm for insulating the set-up from inside.
5. Glass fitting- we will fit the glass plate on the basis of desired output. In the experiment
process we will change the position of glass for better thermal performance and efficiency.
6. Check and review all the set-up.

5. Requirement for The Project

5.1 Machines
In this project we are not required so much heavy machines but we require some light machines.
The different types of machines require are-
Drilling Machine:
In this project we require drilling machine to drill the holes on the inlet and the outlet face of the
flat plate air collector, so that the air can easily pass through it. We drill number of holes on the
inlet face of air collector so that the air gets easily sucked and on the outer face we drill only one
hole so that hot air pass through it. We drill only hole on outer face because air need more time to
increase its temperature and we don’t want that large amount of air pass without heating that’s
why we drill only one hole.
Welding Machine:
For the making of the support structure we use welding machine.
CPU Fan:
This is the fan of dimension 3x3x1. It is used at the exhaust to transfer the hot air from inside to
specific location. The rating of the fan is 5 volt DC, .2 amp.
It is the device which is used to control the on/off of the fan at specific temperature. When the
temperature of the air will be reached at specific temperature then thermostat will ON the fan and
when the temperature of air comes down below specific temperature then thermostat will stop the
Air Probe:
It is a device which is used to measure the temperature of the air. A probe thermometer is a
thermometer that has a pointy metal stem that can be inserted into the gap and measure the
temperature of the air. It also consist of digital monitor which show the temperature.
5.2 Material
Base: For the base of the material we use plywood.
Absorber Plate: For absorber plate we use aluminium plate of thickness 3mm because it has
good absorbing capacity and also available at cheap price. We also use black paint on the plate
so that its absorbing capacity will increase.
Insulation: Insulation is very important, if the insulation is not good then the loss will be more
and the efficiency will decrease. For insulation we use glass wool because it better than
thermocol and also withstand at high temperature (approximately 2000 𝐶 ).
Glass: we use normal glass so that the reflection will be less and sun rays will be trap inside the
box and the temperature of the box will increase. If we some other type of glass then the
reflection will increase and less amount of heat is transferred to the box and efficiency will
Clay: For insulation of the glass with the wood we use clay. We use clay, so that we can easily
remove the glass and fit into another slot and do the experiment easily.

5.3 Specific Skill

1. Everyone should have basic fundamental knowledge about the conduction, convection and
radiation. And everyone should aware about the latest information of the subject related to
2. Knowledge of drilling machine and different devices used.
3. Knowledge of design software.
4. Knowledge of documentation of project work.


Hopefully most of the machines needed for this project is already present in college campus.
The raw materials need to be bought from market and 3 devices are required that are to be
brought from the market. The air probe, thermostat and CPU fan are to be brought from
We can buy solar absorber fin directly from the market or make an absorber plate by applying
coating on the aluminum sheet. It all depends on the economic feasibility of our group.
All these materials mentioned above are the necessary objects required to make a flat plate air
collector. Any extra material required for enhancing the efficiency of collector may be added in
future events.
Economic feasibility is one of our prime objectives in this project.


Transparent glass Thickness-3.5mm Rs300
CPU fan DC,5V,30mm Rs200
Insulation(glass wool) Thickness-4.5cm Rs1000
Insulation(wooden ply) Thickness-10mm Rs660
Digital Thermostat Power source-DC,12V Rs229
Aluminium sheets Thickness-2mm Rs1200
Digital Thermometer Type: digital Rs239
Portable LCD digital

Paint Solar absorber paint Rs620

Battery 12V Rs 650
Thermal simulation Detailed thermal Rs1500
Clamps+nails+bolt L-shaped Rs350
Inch tape Rs30