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Design unit for use with tests of solar collectors

Mezaal, Jawad Kadhim (2017) Design unit for use with tests of solar collectors. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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The purpose of this project is further development of a pre-existing unit to produce fluid for testing liquid heating solar collector according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2535.1.2007. The standard recommends that the inlet temperature and flow rate to the solar collectors must be constrained to an accuracy of ±0.1oC for the temperature and ±1L/min percent of the flow rate at the set point. Achieving these recommendations as an objective of this project will enable the unit to be utilised in solar collector testing.

Various modifications were implemented to enhance the performance of the unit and to comply with the standard’s recommendations. A new sophisticated data acquisition system was added for controlling the unit, and a new software application was developed. Operating the unit in open loop, to understand the behaviour of the unit as a multiple-inputs and multiple-outputs system (MIMO), identified the models for each expected loop. A rule of thumb tuning method was used to design a PI controller for the heating system. Moreover, the previous control strategy with a PI controller was modified for controlling of the MIMO. This method was useful to reduce the interaction between the final process variables in the system.

Obtained steady state responses were analysed for the flow rate and temperature to compare with the limited boundaries. The final results showed that the system was able to supply water to the solar collector within the required accuracy.

Achievement of the final temperature and flow rate of the fluid within the required constraints of the standard has proved that the developed unit can be utilised to perform solar collector testing. However, some more steps for further work were suggested to enable the unit to be adopted in professional tests.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Lee, Gareth
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