An approximate method for calculation of the hourly output of a solar still over a 24-hour cycle has been studied. The hourly performance of a solar still is predicted given the values of the insolation, ambient temperature, wind heat-transfer coefficient, water depth, and the heat-transfer coefficient through base and sides. The proposed method does not require graphical constructions and does not assume constant heat-transfer coefficients as in the previous methods. The possibility of using the values of the heat-transfer coefficients for the preceding time interval in the heat balance equations is examined. In fact, two variants of the basic method of calculation are examined. The hourly rate of evaporation is obtained. The results are compared to those obtained by numerical solution of the complete set of heat balance equations. The errors from the approximate method in prediction of the 24-hour output are within ±1.5 percent of the values from the numerical solution using the heat balance equations. The range of variables covered is 5 to 15 cms in water depth, 0 to 3 W/m2K in a heat-transfer coefficient through base and sides, and 5 to 40 W/m2K in a wind heat-transfer coefficient.

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