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Journal of Energy
Volume 2014, Article ID 247287, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/247287
Research Article

Effect of Glass Thickness on Performance of Flat Plate Solar Collectors for Fruits Drying

1Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering, University of Dar es Salaam, P.O. Box 35131, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
2The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania

Received 29 August 2013; Revised 21 January 2014; Accepted 23 January 2014; Published 12 March 2014

Academic Editor: S Venkata Mohan

Copyright © 2014 Ramadhani Bakari et al. 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.

Abstract

This study aimed at investigating the effect of thickness of glazing material on the performance of flat plate solar collectors. Performance of solar collector is affected by glaze transmittance, absorptance, and reflectance which results into major heat losses in the system. Four solar collector models with different glass thicknesses were designed, constructed, and experimentally tested for their performances. Collectors were both oriented to northsouth direction and tilted to an angle of 10° with the ground toward north direction. The area of each collector model was 0.72 m2 with a depth of 0.15 m. Low iron (extra clear) glass of thicknesses 3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm, and 6 mm was used as glazing materials. As a control, all collector performances were analysed and compared using a glass of 5 mm thickness and then with glass of different thickness. The results showed that change in glass thickness results into variation in collector efficiency. Collector with 4 mm glass thick gave the best efficiency of 35.4% compared to 27.8% for 6 mm glass thick. However, the use of glass of 4 mm thick needs precautions in handling and during placement to the collector to avoid extra costs due to breakage.