The effects of thermal separators within the evacuated tubes of a water-in-glass solar water heater (SWH) were numerically investigated using the commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software ANSYS fluent. To validate the three-dimensional (3D) model, an experiment was performed for the passive operation of the SWH for a fortnight period, of which 3 h of recorded data was selected. The Boussinesq's approximation was employed, and the respective solar irradiance and ambient temperature profiles were incorporated. A maximum deviation of only 2.06% was observed between the experimental and numerical results. The model was then adapted for the case where thermal separators are inserted within the evacuated tubes of the SWH and both cases were run for two tilt angles, 10 deg and 40 deg. The temperature and velocity profiles within the evacuated tubes were analyzed alongside the temperature contours, thermal stratification, and overall thermal efficiency of the SWH. At a 40 deg tilt, without thermal separators, the flow streams within the evacuated tubes are restrained, and a chaotic thermal behavior was observed, thereby restricting thermal distribution to the water stored in the SWH tank. A lower tilt angle (10 deg) provided a more desirable thermal distribution. With thermal separators, however, the tilt angle preference was reversed. A faster and more uniform thermal distribution was achieved within the water tank, with a sizeable reduction in the thermal stratification at a 40 deg tilt. The overall thermal efficiency of the SWH was improved by 4.11% and 4.14% for tilt angles of 10 deg and 40 deg, respectively.
Numerical Investigation of Thermal Separators Within the Evacuated Tubes of a Water-in-Glass Solar Water Heater
Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received April 14, 2018; final manuscript received June 26, 2018; published online July 24, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Gerardo Diaz.
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Soopee, A., Khoodaruth, A. A. H., Murdan, A. P., and Oree, V. (July 24, 2018). "Numerical Investigation of Thermal Separators Within the Evacuated Tubes of a Water-in-Glass Solar Water Heater." ASME. J. Sol. Energy Eng. December 2018; 140(6): 061014. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4040758
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