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Journal of Solar Energy
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 194764, 18 pages
Research Article

Effect of Parametric Uncertainties, Variations, and Tolerances on Thermohydraulic Performance of Flat Plate Solar Air Heater

1Jodhpur Institute of Engineering & Technology, Mogra, N.H. 65, New Pali Road, Jodhpur 342082, India
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Architecture, Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur 342001, India

Received 17 May 2014; Revised 25 August 2014; Accepted 26 August 2014; Published 21 September 2014

Academic Editor: Antonio Lecuona

Copyright © 2014 Rajendra Karwa and Shweta Baghel. 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.


The paper presents results of an analysis carried out using a mathematical model to find the effect of the uncertainties, variations, and tolerances in design and ambient parameters on the thermohydraulic performance of flat plate solar air heater. Analysis shows that, for the range of flow rates considered, a duct height of 10 mm is preferred from the thermohydraulic consideration. The thermal efficiency changes by about 2.6% on variation in the wind heat transfer coefficient, ±5 K variation in sky temperature affects the efficiency by about ±1.3%, and solar insolation variation from 500 to 1000 Wm−2 affects the efficiency by about −1.5 to 1.3% at the lowest flow rate of 0.01 kgs−1 m−2 of the absorber plate with black paint. In general, these effects reduce with increase in flow rate and are lower for collector with selective coating on the absorber plate surface. The tolerances in the duct height and absorber plate emissivity should be small while positive tolerance of 3° in the collector slope for winter operation and ±3° for year round operation, and a positive tolerance for the gap between the absorber plate and glass cover at nominal value of 40 mm are recommended.