Mechanical Engineering Department
BS in Mechanical Engineering
Evacuated tube solar collectors are efficient systems that use heat pipes to facilitate heat transfer. They use incoming solar radiation to heat water. Professor Mason Medizade tasked the team with choosing a component of the system to research and test its influence on system performance. The team investigated the working fluid that runs through the heat pipes. Distilled water, acetone, and ethanol at a range of fill volumes form 1 mL to 11 mL were tested. The team's goal was to find a volume for each fluid to maximize performance of the system. Performance was defined as average temperature rise over the testing period. For distilled water, no maximum performance volume could be determined, but the trend showed higher performance at lower fill volumes. Ethanol showed its highest performance at 7 mL. Finally, acetone showed the highest performance at 6 mL of fill, and had the highest average temperature rise of the three fluids under the particular testing conditions imposed.