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An experimental and numerical approach for thermal performance investigation of solar flat plate collector

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The present work aims to investigate thermal performance of a solar flat plate collector using water and Cu-MWCNTs nanoparticle-based hybrid nanofluid both experimentally and numerically. X-ray diffraction and FESEM with EDAX mapping were performed to characterize nanoparticles. The experimental setup was developed for thermal performance of FPC varying flow rates (0.5, 1.0, 1.5 LPM), inclination angle (25°, 30°, 35°, 40°, 45°), volume concentration (0%, 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.3%, 0.4%), and intensity (400 W/m2). The 3D numerical model having similar geometry as of actual flat plate collector was modeled using Fluents 15.0. The SST turbulence model was used to capture the chaotic changes in the velocity, temperature, and pressure fields. The experimental findings revealed 79.74% improvement in instantaneous efficiency at 0.4% vol., 1.5 LPM, 45° inclination angle, and 400 W/m2 intensity. The maximum deviation between the experimental and numerically calculated outlet and inlet temperature difference (ΔT) was 3.5% using a hybrid nanofluid. When numerical data are compared, instantaneous efficiency and heat gain both deviate by 2.8% and 2.9% from experimental values. Because of the numerical simulation analysis, it is possible to observe the temperature and flow pattern in flat plate collectors using nanofluids under a set of operating conditions, which would not be possible without the simulation.

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Data availability

As per on request basis.



Flat plate collector


Energy-dispersive X-ray analysis


Field emission scanning electron microscope


Liter per minute


Multi-wall carbon nanotubes


X-ray diffraction


Computational fluid dynamics

A c :

Area of collector

Cp :

Specific heat capacity of working fluid (J/kg k)

F R :

Heat removal factor

I t :

Instantaneous intensity of radiation

Q i :

Incident energy on solar collector

Q u :

Useful heat gain of working fluid

R 2 :

Correlation coefficient

T ab :

Ambient temperature

T in :

Inlet temperature of working fluid

T out :

Outlet temperature of working fluid

V :

Volume flow rate

I :

Intensity of radiation

T :


K :

Thermal conductivity

m :

Mass flow rate

R :

Coefficient of determination

ρ :


β :

Inclination angle

η :

Instantaneous efficiency

η FPC :

Efficiency of FPC

η Siu . :

Correlation efficiency

η exp . :

Experimental efficiency

μ :



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Conception and design of the study: Shiva Singh, Kuwar Mausam, Subrata Kumar Ghosh, A.K.Twari; acquisition of data: Kuwar Mausam, Shiva Singh; analysis and/or interpretation of data: Shiva Singh, Kuwar Mausam, Subrata Kumar Ghosh; drafting the manuscript: Shiva Singh; Kuwar Mausam; revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content: Subrata Kumar Ghosh, A.K.Twari; approval of the version of the manuscript to be published: Shiva Singh, Kuwar Mausam, Subrata Kumar Ghosh, Arun Kumar Tiwari.

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Correspondence to Subrata Kumar Ghosh.

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Singh, S., Mausam, K., Ghosh, S.K. et al. An experimental and numerical approach for thermal performance investigation of solar flat plate collector. Environ Sci Pollut Res 30, 92859–92879 (2023).

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