An Investigation of Methods to Enhance Stratification in Solar Domestic Hot Water Tanks.
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Solar domestic hot water (SDHW) systems collect energy with a solar collector, transfer the energy to the water through a heat exchanger, and store it in a storage tank. The water in the tank should be thermally stratified to the highest possible degree to maximize system efficiency because a stratified tank has higher availability than a mixed tank temperature. The objective of this research is to develop a manifold that will enhance thermal stratification in the SDHW tank. In this work a new immersion shell-and-coil heat exchanger with a perforated manifold that extends from the heat exchanger to the top of the tank was used to enhance the thermal stratification. The purpose of the perforated manifold is to deliver the water heated by the heat exchanger to the tank at the level where the temperature of the water in the tank matches the temperature of the heated water, thereby enhancing stratification. The effectiveness of the perforated manifold was determined experimentally. An experimental set-up was designed and constructed. The experimental results were analyzed for each manifold design then compared to determine the most effective manifold. The experimental work included testing and comparing different manifold designs. To simulate an actual system, experiments were conducted on three initial tank conditions, namely cold, hot, and mixed tank conditions. The thermal performance of the system in terms of tank availability and entropy, maximum tank temperature, and thermal stratification were studied. A method to determine and design a perforated manifold that works with the standard Canadian SDHW system was established and evaluated experimentally. An availability analysis approach was developed to evaluate the thermal performance of manifolds, which have been operated at different times of the year. Theoretically, gradually increasing the diameter of the holes in the manifold from the bottom into the top should reduce the unwanted flow of cold water from the bottom of the tank to the manifold and enhance the thermal performance of the manifold. However, the experimental did not confirm this.