In the absence of a simple technique to predict convection heat transfer on building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) surfaces, a mobile probe with two thermocouples was designed. Thermal boundary layers on vertical flat surfaces of a photovoltaic (PV) and a metallic plate were traversed. The plate consisted of twelve heaters where heat flux and surface temperature were controlled and measured. Uniform heat flux condition was developed on the heaters to closely simulate non-uniform temperature distribution on vertical PV modules. The two thermocouples on the probe measured local air temperature and contact temperature with the wall surface. Experimental results were presented in the forms of local Nusselt numbers versus Rayleigh numbers “Nu=a * (Ra)b”, and surface temperature versus dimensionless height [Ts -T= c*(z/h)d]. The constant values for “a”, “b”, “c” and “d” were determined from the best curve-fitting to the power-law relation. The convection heat transfer predictions from the empirical correlations were found to be in consistent with those predictions made by a number of correlations published in the open literature. A simple technique is then proposed to employ two experimental data from the probe to refine empirical correlations as the operational conditions change. A flexible technique to update correlations is of prime significance requirement in thermal design and operation of BIPV modules. The work is in progress to further extend the correlation to predict the combined radiation and convection on inclined PVs and channels.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.