Document Type : Original Article
Mechanical Engineering Department, Higher Education Complex of Bam, Bam, Iran
Mechanical Engineering Faculty, Sirjan University of Technology, Kerman, Iran
Asphalt materials commonly have high absorption coefficients, and their surface temperature reaches as high as 80 oC during daytime hours since their surfaces are exposed to solar radiation for long periods. Hence, asphalt pavements can easily be converted to solar air heaters (SAHs) to collect solar energy. Even though asphalt materials have low thermal conductivity, resulting in a weak convection heat exchange rate between the flowing air and asphalt surface. The current experimental study analyzes utilizing aluminum shavings as asphalt coating materials to improve SAHs’ thermal performance. To this aim, a serpentine SAH prototype was constructed, and several sensors were utilized to monitor its dynamic thermal response. Black-painted aluminum shavings were utilized as coating materials to improve the convective heat exchange rate and increase the roughness of the absorber surface. Two scenarios were considered, including the uncoated absorber plate and coated one with 0.2 kg aluminum shavings. The experiments were carried out for two air mass flow rates of 0.02 kg/s and 0.03 kg/s under field conditions. Based on the air mass flow rate, the coated absorber reaches higher temperatures, approximately 5 oC to 9 oC, than the uncoated one. The acquired results illustrate that the coated SAH has nearly 4 oC to 5 oC higher maximum exhaust air temperature; hence, the coating strategy improves the thermal efficiency by 24.75% and 44% in two air mass flow rates of 0.02 kg/s and 0.03 kg/s, respectively.