Effectiveness of Continuous and Discontinuous-Flow Strategies in Heat Dynamics and Performance of Asphalt Solar Collector: An Experimental Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Mechanical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Higher Education Complex of Bam, Bam, Iran

2 Mechanical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran


Asphalt solar collectors (ASCs) offer a low-cost and reliable alternative to harvest energy from available infrastructures such as roads and pathways by employing the simple techniques. This paper represents an experimental study to evaluate the effectiveness of continuous and discontinuous-flow strategies in the dynamics and performance of a self-constructed ASC under field conditions. To this aim, an ON/OFF switching controller commands to run and stop the system at different time intervals. During the experimental simulations, all the crucial environmental and operational parameters were measured and monitored. This approach assesses the effects of numerous scenarios with different intervals of time on the dynamics of the constructed collector. Continuous and discontinuous-flow strategies were evaluated by comparing three different scenarios, including continuous-flow mode, 5 min OFF-mode and, 10 min OFF-mode. The results show that by extending the OFF-mode, the water is kept stagnant in the hot embedded pipes for more extended periods. Therefore, the temperature difference at the inlet and outlet of collector reduces, and the water leaves the collector at higher temperatures; however, the efficiency of the ASC decreases. Also, even though extending the OFF-mode results in heated water exits the collector at higher temperatures, but the mass of heated water decreases due to continuous interruption of current flow. The test results prove that in continuous-flow strategy, cumulative heat gain improves. Therefore, the continuous-flow strategy shows higher performance than introduced discontinuous-flow strategy. The exergy analysis illustrates that the available useful exergy has significantly affected by considering the pump consumed energy.