Reflective mirror facets for concentrating solar power (CSP) systems have stringent requirements on the surface slope accuracy in order to provide adequate system performance. This paper presents a tool that can fully characterize facets quickly enough for 100% inspection on a production line. A facet for a CSP system, specifically a dish concentrator has a parabolic design shape. This shape will concentrate near-parallel rays from the sun to a point (or a line for trough systems). Deviations of surface slope from the design shape impact the performance of the system, either losing power that misses the target or increasing peak fluxes to undesirable levels. During development or production, accurate knowledge of facet defects can lead to improvements to lower cost or improve performance. The reported characterization system, SOFAST (Sandia Optical Fringe Analysis Slope Tool), has a computer-connected camera that images the reflective surface, which is positioned so that it reflects an active target, such as an LCD screen, to the camera. A series of fringe patterns are displayed on the screen while images are captured. Using the captured information, the reflected target location of each pixel of mirror viewed can be determined, and thus through a mathematical transformation, a surface normal map can be developed. This is then fitted to the selected model equation, and the errors from design are characterized. While similar approaches have been explored, several key developments are presented here. The combination of the display, capture, and data reduction in one system allows rapid characterization. An “electronic boresight” approach is utilized to accommodate physical equipment positioning deviations, making the system insensitive to setup errors. Up to 1.5 × 106 points are characterized on each facet. Finally, while prior automotive industry commercial systems resolve the data to shape determination, SOFAST concentrates on slope characterization and reporting, which is tailored to solar applications. SOFAST can be used for facet analysis during development. However, the real payoff is in production, where complete analysis is performed in about 10 s. With optimized coding, this could be further reduced.
Rapid Reflective Facet Characterization Using Fringe Reflection Techniques
Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING. Manuscript received January 2, 2013; final manuscript received April 5, 2013; published online July 2, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Akiba Segal.
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Andraka, C. E., Sadlon, S., Myer, B., Trapeznikov, K., and Liebner, C. (July 2, 2013). "Rapid Reflective Facet Characterization Using Fringe Reflection Techniques." ASME. J. Sol. Energy Eng. February 2014; 136(1): 011002. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4024250
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