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Optimising collector plate geometry for a specific solar syphon system design
Solar energy is still not being used effectively in countries in the developing world, though it's a partial solution to the problem of shortage and expensive energy. Normally harvested through flat plate collectors, converting solar radiation into heat is the most direct application that can be effected in water heating systems. Many researchers have attempted to develop means of improving the efficiency of the flat plate solar energy collector; however there appears to be no evidence of any work regarding the effect of geometric configuration on the performance of flat plate solar collector. This study presents results obtained when comparing the performance of a solar water heating system equipped with three manufactured flat plate solar collector panels of numerically identical surface area but of different geometric configuration as they were individually attached to a typical geyser. Data was obtained inside a laboratory. The amount of heat acquired from flat plate collectors of solar energy depends primarily on their surface area that is exposed to the solar irradiance, however, the geometry of the collectors was thought that it might affect to some extent the amount of heat harvested. The circulation of the water from the panel to the geyser was due to the self-induced thermo-syphon effect. The results obtained during the test period (7 hours per day for two consecutive days) indicated that the system’s thermal efficiency was best when the square geometrical configuration collector was used. A dimensional analysis using the Π Buckingham method that was performed on the parameters affecting a flat plate solar collector yielded three dimensionless numbers that lead to a power law relationship which might be useful in enhancing solar water heating systems’ design.
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