The solar chimney is a natural ventilation technique that has the potential to save energy use in buildings as well as maintain comfortable indoor quality. The objective of the current study was to examine the effects of the wall-solar chimney on airflow distribution and thermal conditions in a room. In the current work, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was used to model a solar chimney. The solar chimney was modeled three-dimensionally for a more realistic simulation of fluid and thermal conditions. Experimental and numerical data from literature were used to validate the current model, and the results agreed very well. The current study showed that the flow in the solar chimney system can be either laminar or turbulent depending on the parameters of the system, and that the effect of the chimney inlet was more significant than that of the chimney width (air gap between the glass and absorber) on the flow regime. This study also developed a new characteristic Rayleigh number (Ra*) relating the chimney inlet and width, which showed good consistency with the prediction of the flow regime. The investigations of Ra* and the flow regime indicated that the flow becomes turbulent for Ra* ∼ 0.8 × 108. Finally, the potential improvements of the designs were discussed by observing the flow and thermal conditions of the room.

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