Optics and Heat Transfer in Solar Collectors

  • Brian Norton
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 18)


All substances emit electromagnetic radiation continuously in a particular range of the electromagnetic spectrum, the dominant form that such energy takes depends upon its nature and the form of the applied external excitation; electrical conductors emit radio waves when excited by an alternating current; certain elements emit X-rays if excited by atomic bombardment and if heated to a sufficiently high temperature all substances will emit visible light. Cosmic rays, X-rays, r-rays, visible light and radio waves are forms of electromagnetic radiation that, when absorbed by a substance, usually produces a very small heating effect. The wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that interact with matter to produce significant radiative heating are confined to a band from approximately 0.1 to 100 μm; this includes a portion of the ultraviolet light together with all visible (0.40–0.7 μm) and infrared light bands. For many solar thermal systems the optical characteristics and geometries of aperture materials, reflectors and absorbers determines solar heat gains. How much of that heat is retained is determined largely by heat transfer (i) across air gaps, evacuated spaces, and insulation materials and (ii) provided by forced or buoyant removal of fluid from a collector.


Solar Energy Application Optical Efficiency Acceptance Angle Solar Heat Gain Compound Parabolic Concentrate 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Norton
    • 1
  1. 1.Dublin Institute of TechnologyDublinIreland

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