This study presents an innovative idea to augment heat transfer to an air heater using helicoidal finned arrangement. A parametric analysis of the helicoidal shaped fin geometry is considered with helicoidal pitch ratio of 0.1666–0.3, fin diameter ratio of 1.75–2. For the placement of the fin beneath the absorber plate, longitudinal pitch ratio ranging from 0.0416 to 0.1666 are used. The flow Reynolds number used for the study ranges from 4800 to 25,000. The effects of helicoidal pitch ratio, wire diameter ratio and longitudinal pitch ratio on Nusselt number and friction factor have been discussed. It is seen from the analysis that there is a significant improvement in Nusselt number for the case of helicoidal fin of wire diameter ratio of 1 when compared to base model as well as straight fin model for the operating range of Reynolds number. It is also observed from the analysis that for the helicoidal fin configuration of helicoidal pitch ratio of 0.2333, friction factor appears to be moderate. Flow and roughness parameters for roughened solar air heater have been optimized using thermal-hydraulic enhancement factor (THEF). The study reveals that by the use of helicoidal fins, maximum enhancement in the Nusselt number is found to be 2.21 times when compared to the base model for longitudinal pitch ratio of 0.0416, helicoidal pitch ratio of 0.166 for a fixed wire diameter. The improvement obtained in performance corresponding to increased Nusselt number establishes the efficacy the helicoidal fin design for the absorber plate.

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