Numerical analysis of magnetic field effects on the heat transfer enhancement in ferrofluids for a parabolic trough solar collector

Publication date: April 2019

Source: Renewable Energy, Volume 134

Author(s): Ali Khosravi, Mohammad Malekan, Mamdouh E.H. Assad


A parabolic trough is defined as a type of solar thermal collector that is straight in one dimension and curved as a parabola in the other two, lined with a polished metal mirror. Enhancing the thermal efficiency of this collectors is one of the major challenges of developing and growing of parabolic trough solar thermal power plants. Ferrofluids were proposed as a novel working fluid for industrial applications, due to their thermal performances. In this study, the convective heat transfer of Fe3O4-Therminol 66 ferrofluid under magnetic field (0–500 G) is evaluated using computational fluid dynamics. The ferrofluid with different volume fraction (1–4%) and the Therminol 66 (as the base fluid) are considered as the working fluids for a parabolic trough solar collector. Numerical analysis first validated using theoretical results, and then a detailed study is conducted in order to analyze the effect of the magnetic field on different parameters. The result demonstrated that using magnetic field can increase the local heat transfer coefficient of the collector tube, thermal efficiency as well as output temperature of the collector. In addition, increasing the volume fraction of nanoparticle in the base fluid and intensity of magnetic field increased the collector performance.

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