Experimental designs for a solar domestic hot water storage system were built in efforts to maximize thermal stratification within the tank. A stratified thermal store has been shown by prior literature to maximize temperature of the hot water drawn from the tank while simultaneously increasing the temperature delta required for effective heat transfer from the solar panels, thereby improving the annual performance of domestic solar hot water heating systems (DSHWH) by 30%–60%. Our design incorporates partitions, thermal diodes, and a coiled heat exchanger enclosed in an annulus. The thermal diodes are passive devices that promote natural convection currents of hot water upwards, while inhibiting reverse flow and mixing. Several variations of heat exchanger coils, diodes and partitions were simulated using ANSYS Computational Fluid Dynamics, and benchmarked using experimental data. The results revealed that the optimum design incorporated two partitions separated by a specific distance with four diodes for each partition. In addition, it was discovered that varying the length and diameter of the thermal diodes greatly affected the temperature distribution. The thermal diodes and partitions were used to maintain stratification for long periods of time by facilitating natural convective currents and taking advantage of the buoyancy effect. The results of the experiment and simulations proved that incorporating these elements into the design can greatly improve the thermal performance and temperature stratification of a domestic hot water storage tank.

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