The performance of a black liquid, sheet flow solar collector has been investigated both analytically and experimentally. In addition, its performance has been compared to that of a baseline collector of the tube and fin design. The black liquid solar collector was predicted to exhibit an instantaneous efficiency improvement of 10-15% over a well designed tube and fin collector. This result was confirmed experimentally. Long term efficiency calculations indicate similar performance improvements over long term use. The major contribution to improved efficiency was found to be the direct absorption process whereby a) the collector efficiency, F’, is unity and b) the effective transmittance-absorptance, (τα) eff’, is increased for most angles of incidence over that of a comparable tube and fin collector. A significant advantage of the proposed collector was found to be reduced cost per unit energy collected since no metals are required in collector fabrication.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Solar energy--Research; Space vehicles--Solar engines--Collectors

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)




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