Abstract

In this paper, the radiating effect of working gas on thermal performance of plane solar heaters is investigated. In the numerical simulation of gas flow, the continuity and momentum equations are solved using the finite volume method (FVM) in which the pressure-velocity coupling is handled by the SIMPLE algorithm. To obtain the temperature distribution, the conservation of energy in the fluid and solid media is solved by the finite difference technique. The distribution of radiating intensity which is needed to calculate the raditive term in the gas energy equation is computed by numerical solution of the radiative transfer equation (RTE) using the discrete ordinate method (DOM). The effect of the variation of different parameters on the predicted thermal efficiency of plane solar heater is investigated by presenting the performance plot. The obtained results show that when the gas medium participates in radiation, the gas temperature at the outlet section increases considerably, especially at high optical thicknesses. Also, the temperature difference between the absorber plate and flowing gas decreases, and more uniform temperature distribution takes place inside the solar heater, which leads to a considerable increase of thermal efficiency. Comparison between the present numerical results and the experimental data published in literature shows good agreement.

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