Paper presented to the 10th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Florida, 14-16 July 2014.
This study experimentally investigates the fluid flow and heat transfer in two solar thermal absorber plates for compact (thin and light-weight) solar thermal collectors. Two metal plates with 270 mm long, 0. 5 mm deep mini-channels having aspect ratios of 1 and 4 were studied. Constant heat flux, forced convection experiments were performed using Tyfocor® LS (a propylene glycol-based heat transfer fluid for thermal solar systems) at various flow rates and temperatures. Reynolds numbers were in the range 5-200. Measured Nusselt numbers were much lower than classical theory and were observed to be directly proportional to the product of the Reynolds number and Prandtl number (RePr). The plate with rectangular channels produced slightly higher Nusselt numbers and much lower pressure drops, making them a preferred option for this application.