CFD modeling and performance evaluation of multipass solar air heaters

Moustafa Al-Damook, Zainalabdeen H. Obaid, Mansour Al Qubeissi, Darron Dixon-Hardy, Joshua Cottom, Peter J. Heggs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)
    105 Downloads (Pure)


    This article investigates the impacts of flow configurations on the thermal performance of a solar heater system. Recycled aluminum cans (RACs) have been utilized as turbulators with a double pass single duct solar air collector. The CFD software of COMSOL Multiphysics V5.3a is used to model three designs: Cocurrent (model A), countercurrent (model B), and U-shape (model C). The numerical results reveal that the U-shape design offers a greater thermal performance of 5.4% and 6.5%, respectively, compared with the cocurrent and countercurrent flow models. Furthermore, an outdoor experiment is performed based on the numerical modeling of flow configurations. The experimental setup is examined for three configurations of model C, namely, solar air heater (SAH) without RAC model C-I (plain model), SAH with in-line RAC layout (model C-II), and SAH with staggered RAC layout (model C-III). We found the double pass single duct solar air collector (model C) design is in a good agreement with the experimental data, and model C-III has a better thermal efficiency of 60.2%, compared to those of model C-II, 53.1%, and model C-I, 49.4%.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)438-464
    Number of pages27
    JournalNumerical Heat Transfer; Part A: Applications
    Issue number6
    Early online date18 Jul 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Numerical Heat Transfer; Part A on 18/07/2019 available online:

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • CFD
    • CFD model
    • Heat transfer
    • Photovoltaic (PV)
    • Thermal and electrical efficiency
    • Conjugate Heat transfer
    • Cooling


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