A detailed analysis of the heat transfers and fluid flows within direct thermosyphonic solar energy water heaters has been undertaken. The collector energy equations were cast in a two-dimensional form in order that the heat transfer and thermal capacitance effects can be simulated accurately at the small flow rates encountered commonly in these buoyancy-driven systems. The use of an appropriate nonisothermal friction factor correlation when calculating energy losses in the collector’s riser pipes, produced predicted flow rates which were corroborated to within 2 percent by the values measured under steady flow conditions. For the laminar flow rates and the store configuration investigated, relaxation of the thermocline was shown to be dominated by axial conduction in the store walls. An indoor test facility, monitored and controlled by a microcomputer, enabled “real” operating conditions to be simulated. The predicted responses of the system to identical conditions showed good agreement with the corresponding experimental observations, the predicted heat delivery being within 2.8 percent of that measured.

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