Based on theoretical calculations, a material that is highly transmissive below 3000 nm and opaque above 3000 nm is desired to replace glass covers for flat plate solar thermal systems. Additionally, a suitable replacement material needs to have a sufficiently high operating temperature in order to prevent the glazing from melting and warping in a solar system. Traditional solar thermal applications use conventional soda lime glass or low iron content glass to accomplish this; however, this project aims to investigate acrylic, polycarbonate, and FEP film as suitable alternatives for conventional solar glazings. While UV-Vis and FT-IR spectroscopy indicate that these polymer substitutes may not be ideal when used alone, when used in combination with coatings and additives, these materials may present an opportunity for a glazing replacement. A model representing a flat plate solar collector was developed to qualitatively analyze the various materials and their performance. Using gathered spectroscopy data, the model was developed for a multi-glazing system and it was found that polymer substitutes could perform better in certain system configurations. To complete the model, the model must be verified using empirical data and coatings and additives investigated for the purposes of achieving the desired materials optical specifications.
- Materials Replacement for Solar Thermal Covers
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