Influence of environmental conditions and architectural form on the design and thermal performance of the flat-plate solar collector system.
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ROBERTSON, P. 1981. Influence of environmental conditions and architectural form on the design and thermal performance of the flat-plate solar collector system. Robert Gordon's Institute of Technology, PhD thesis.
Solar heating systems, by the nature of their design and inherent thermal mass, are sensitive to the changes in the prevailing climatic conditions. A computer program has been developed to predict and display the dynamic performance of solar water heating systems and their installation designs under transient climatic and restricted site conditions. A multi-node capacitance model describes the dynamic heat transfer and energy storage processes within the solar collector unit, storage tank and the connecting pipework. This simulation model predicts the dynamic system performance under intermittent solar radiation, system operation and energy usage conditions. Validation studies have been carried out on the computer simulation results against the performance of a purpose-built solar collector test facility and a commercial solar water heating system in actual operation in Aberdeen. A good correlation has been obtained in both cases. The accuracy of the prediction was found to be dependant upon the time interval of the available climatic data and the complexity of the thermal simulation network chosen. The experimental facilities and the computer simulation program have been developed to investigate the effect of integrating the solar collector installation as part of the roof fabric, as a possible technique to improve the system performance in exposed locations. The application of this computer program lies in the development of innovative solar collector system and installation designs to achieve optimum system performance under transient climatic and restricted urban site conditions.