In this paper, a ferrofluid-based cooling technique is proposed for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, where ferrofluid flow can be easily altered by the application of an external magnetic field leading to enhanced heat transfer from the hot surface of PV systems. The effect of both constant and alternating magnetic field on ferrofluid flow through a minichannel is explored numerically in the present work. A detailed parametric study is performed to investigate the effect of actuation frequencies of alternating magnetic field (0.5–20 Hz) and Reynolds numbers (Re = 24, 60, and 100) on heat transfer characteristics of ferrofluid. An overall enhancement of 17.41% is observed for heat transfer of ferrofluid in the presence of magnetic field compared to the base case of no magnetic field. For the case of alternating magnetic field, a critical actuation frequency is observed for each Reynolds number above which heat transfer is observed to decrease. The enhancement or decrease in heat transfer of ferrofluid is found to depend on several factors such as actuation frequency of alternating magnetic field, Reynolds numbers of ferrofluid flow, and formation/dispersion of stagnant layers of ferrofluid at the magnet location. Preliminary visualization of ferrofluid flow is also carried out to provide a qualitative insight to the nature of transportation of ferrofluid in the presence of an alternating magnetic field.

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