Wind effects on sun tracking solar reflecting panels
Wagner, Corwin J.
Chandrasekhara, Muguru S.
Sathe, Sanjeev B.
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Wind loads on sun tracking solar reflector panels exposed to the atmospheric boundary layer were established through surface static pressure measurements to determine how wind affects them, specifically at the request of SPAWAR-Pacific, which has developed a custom design. A 1:8 scale model of a four-panel array was studied in the Naval Postgraduate School wind tunnel. Wind velocity, wind angle orientation, and individual panel positions, at which the highest pressure coefficient cases were anticipated, were varied. The pressure coefficients were measured by an array of Scanivalve pressure transducers with 16 pressure taps drilled into the top and bottom surfaces of each panel. Oil flow and smoke flow visualization techniques were performed to better understand the flow features that led to the greatest pressure coefficients. A parapet was included to observe the wind effects of various positions. Additionally, pressure measurements were observed using a rounded edge installed on the lead panel edges. This notion was to assist in not only minimizing wind loads, but also in determining a safe stow position of the array during high wind events. The measurements and the flow visualization studies both provided a cohesive and constructive picture of the flow. The windward panel was found to be subjected to the thrust of the wind loads in most cases, with a maximum recorded differential pressure coefficient of 3.25. However, when in combination with attaching the rounded edge to the windward panel and setting it negative five degrees, pressure coefficients were decreased by more than 70%. Parapets of the appropriate help also reduced the measured loads significantly.
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