This paper presents a comparative study between theoretical predictions and experimental results of a flat-plate solar collector with heat pipes. The theoretical model for the heat pipe solar collector is based upon the method by Duffie and Beckman(1980), modified to use heat pipes for energy transport. The methanol filled heat pipes are self-contained devices whose evaporators are inserted under pressure in the flat plate of the solar collector and the heat exchange is carried out at their condensers. The evaporators contain a wick of one mesh layer to ensure a better distribution of the working fluid. The condensers are wickless and inclined 15 deg more than the inclination of the evaporators to facilitate the return of the condensate to the evaporators. The time constant of the heat pipe solar collector was calculated and found to be about 23 minutes. Also presented in this paper are comparative experimental results of the proposed solar collector and a conventional commercial solar collector. The two collectors were tested simultaneously. The instantaneous efficiencies of the heat pipe solar collector are lower than the conventional collector in the morning and higher when the heat pipes reach their operating temperatures.

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