The client who used to live in an area with strong winds requested designing 3 models of the strong frame for a solar structure composed of two horizontally connected parabolics through collectors, the frame was to be capable of withstanding the existing strong winds in the area.
The parabolic trough collectors were designed for heating a fluid which was pumped around a loop within the tube located on the focal point of a parabolic structure and absorbing the heat as it passes through.
Some of the challenges in making the design as requested by the client include the followings.
1. The main challenge with the work was that due to the heavy weight of the fluid in the tube, the existing frames were unable to maintain the stability of the structure against strong winds.
2. The other challenge was making the design compatible with a situation in which a large number of these PTCs could be installed on a farm. So the design had to fulfill the condition of easily installable without their motors.
3. The other challenging requirement was the cost of the device. Considering the fact that the collector was intended to be produced in large numbers, the price was a key factor for the success of the project. Therefore, the final solution was to be optimized for a cost-effective product. This requirement had its own impact on the design because the parts had to be manufactured using simple methods and off the shelf components.
4. The 4th requirement as set by the client was making the design in a way that it could be easily and quickly assembled.
5. The design was requested to be dual purpose, meaning that in areas where there were requests for power production instead of a water heating application, it had to be designed in a way that the PTC structure could be easily replaced by solar panels.
In order to resolve the above challenges and fulfill the request made by the client the followings design steps were taken:
1. In order to fortify the HCE receiver mounts and satisfy the requested condition for a strong frame, 3 different models including a 2-arm and a 3- arm mount design were made and then simulated. Subsequently, a CFD analysis of all three models was done and compared. The final result of the CFD analysis proved that the best option for a reliable design capable of withstanding strong winds was the 3-arm mount system.
2. The design was made in a way that the motors on the sides of the PTC structure could be readily opened.
3. In order to meet cost requirements, while at the beginning stage, the overall shape and appearance of the product was a key factor; however, considering the fact that the design was intended to be used in non-residential and desert areas in such countries as Saudi Arabia, the design was switched to a more cost-effective solution. This led the designer to review the whole design with all the details to find an economic solution.
4. In order to resolve the assembly time requirement and make it the minimum, the design was made with detachable components and parts that could be easily screwed together and assembled. The other advantages of such a system were,
a. Ease of shipment to the destination
b. Lower cost of the shipment
c. Less damage during the shipment
5. In order to make a dual purpose product with the minimum cost, all the available solutions were considered by the design team and all were discussed with the client and finally, the best option was selected.
Watch the process:
Result and feedbacks:
1. All the requirements set by the client was done.
2. The client was satisfied with the design
3. The design could be manufactured as it was.