Experimental and Numerical Investigation of the Thermal Performance of Spiral Type Solar Collector


Sejjad Mousa Rahi, Mishaal A. AbdulKareem


Mechanical Engineering Department, Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad, Iraq

Corresponding Author Email: sejjadmousa87@gmail.com

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

A spiral solar collector can be described a particular type of solar collector which includes a pipe with many turns fixed inside a solar collector box. The thermal efficiency of a spiral-type solar collector is simulated numerically to predict the temperature distribution and thermal efficiency using ANSYS-FLUENT commercial software. The transient 3D energy equation is solved assuming that the working fluid is water and the flow is steady-state, incompressible, and turbulent using the (K-ε) model. The effects of changing the water flow rate, the direction of flow, and the pipe diameter on the distribution of the temperature and thermal efficiency are studied. Excellent agreement is obtained when comparing predicted results with measurements obtained from the experimental test using a spiral-type solar collector model made of a (15-turn) copper pipe of (23 m) length and (7.75 mm) inside diameter. This spiral pipe is fixed on a flat copper plate of (65*65 cm2) fitted inside a wood box of (77*77 cm2) covered with a single layer of glass and insulated from the other side with fiberglass. A (17.8 lit.) water storage tank made of cork is connected with a D.C pump. This pump is supplied with electric power from a (100 W) photovoltaic cell. It is used to circulate the water with a flow of (0.0625 lit/sec and 0.03125 lit/sec) through the system. It was found that the optimum thermal efficiency is (82.5 %) when the water flow rate is (0.0625 lit/sec) flowing with a direction such that the water inlet port is located at the center of the spiral pipe. An enhancement of (34.6 %) increase in thermal efficiency is obtained compared with the worst case when the flow rate is the same value but circumference entrance port.