Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Kunal Mitra

Second Advisor

Hamidreza Najafi

Third Advisor

Ju Zhang

Fourth Advisor

Ashok Pandit


Solar energy technologies are growing vastly in both developed and developing countries. The parabolic trough solar collector (PTSC) technology is the most widely used system among concentrated solar technologies. In this thesis, three models were developed to investigate the performance of the PTSC; these models are 2D & 3D numerical models and 1D analytical model. Each model considers three absorber tube configurations, vacuum annulus, air-filled annulus, and bare absorber tube. The specifications of the Luz LS-2 PTSC were used throughout the study. Since the study considers the 3D model, a realistic non-uniform heat flux distribution around the receiver tube was developed using Monte Carlo Ray-Tracing method. The developed models were validated with Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) experimental data. The resulted data show a slight difference between the 2D and the 3D models. Also, a parametric study was conducted using the 2D model to investigate the effect of inlet temperature, inlet velocity, incident solar radiation, and wind speed. The presented results show that the PTSC performance increases with the increase of volume flow rate and decreases with the rise of inlet temperature. The effect of solar radiation and wind speed show stability on both vacuum and air in the annulus. However, in the bare absorber tube, the effect of wind velocity is significant and negatively impacts the performance. Also, the impact of two types of coatings Cermet and Black Chrome was conducted on the three configurations where the vacuum and air annulus are sensitive to the coating type, unlike the bare absorber. The effect of nanoparticles on the PTSC performance was studied using two types of nanoparticles CuO and Fe4O3 with two different base fluids Syltherm-800 and Therminol VP-1. Bare absorber tube shows the most improvement from nanoparticles, and CuO nanoparticle provides the best enhancement in the performance.


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