Spring Session 2012
At the end of the spring session, the 2011-2012 Solar Lab senior design projects have been finalized. Here are our results.
STTL Team A
Team Members: Sheiba Feizizadeh, Jesse Snyder, Jim, Ken Bilodeau, Williamson, Aaron St. Sauveur, Babak Sarlati
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Ross
The goal of this project is to research options for the design of a solar simulator and to create procedural and data collection documents to support lab accreditation. In addition, the team is working to produce the first STTL test report of a flat plate solar thermal collector.
- developed an eight 2000W lamp array design of a solar simulator including an adjustable structure, alternative solar panel mounting cart, cooling system, and interfacing and control system.
- produced lamp research test report and MS excel simulation model to predict effects of overlapping irradiance profiles with multiple light sources
- created procedures and data collection logs for all of the solar panel tests carried out in the SRCC Standard 100 criteria
- generated first complete STTL test report of a flat plate solar collector
Solar Light Simulator design (left) and the Solar Panel Cart (right)
STTL Team B
Team Members: Tristan Demeter Cowan, Nicholas Chiaverini, Carl Zhu
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Ross
The goal of this project is to design and create systems that will validate the various sensors on the STTL’s pump cart. The flowmeter and the temperature sensors and pressure sensors at the panel inlet and outlet need to be kept in calibration in order to meet the SRCC 100 and ISO standards that STTL must satisfy in order to qualify solar panels.
- A Flowmeter Validation system which connects to the Pump Cart and calculates flowrate by measuring the change in weight of a water tank over a period of time.
- A Pressure Validation system that utilizes weights exerted over a known cross-sectional area of a 2-ton bottle jack piston to create an internal pressure reading. The system shall be an absolute measurement device, with a mechanical gauge read-out, a pressure relief safety valve and capability to calibrate two sensors simultaneously.
- A Temperature Validation system which consists of a temperature bath borrowed from the Chemistry Department that controls temperature precisely. The temperature sensors to be validated will be compared against a highly precise reference temperature sensor.
- A binder shared with Team A that contains written procedures and results.
Temperature Validation System (left); Pressure Sensor Calibration (center) and Flow meter Calibration (right)
Fall Session 2011
Following an exciting and productive summer session, the lab completed the pump cart’s main control system, a CNC-machined sundial, a dynamic 30-day exposure stand and it had begun testing thermal efficiencies of solar panels. The lab continued to progress as part of the engineering students’ senior design course. This fall, team members were grouped into two teams. Team A, led by Jim Williamson, was responsible for researching and building a solar simulator, a huge task given the complexity and strict requirements to simulate the sun. Team B, led by Nick Chiaverini, was responsible for developing a calibration system for the flow meter, pressure sensors and temperature sensors.
Throughout the fall 2011 semester, Team A worked to design a solar simulation system which would allow for solar thermal collector and solar PV panel testing when outdoor conditions are not adequate. The design covered aspects of illumination, cooling, controls, and mounting. The initial design was composed of an array of eight 2000W lamps (mounted upon an adjustable Unistrut frame), arranged to uniformly supply irradiance across a 6X8 ft test plane. The cooling system was designed to maintain the system temperature by removing excess heat through a series of overhead ducts. The lamp control system consisted of a LabVIEW digital control board which allowed for complete adjustment of each of the eight units. Following the fall 2011 semester, Team A began performing preliminary tests on the 2000W lamps to determine if the current design will meet collimation and uniformity requirements. A MS excel-generated regression model is currently being developed to predict the irradiance profile which will exist throughout the simulator's test plane. These results will reveal whether the design must be adjusted in order to conform to SRCC, ISO, and IEC requirements.
Team B designed a calibration system for the Flow Technology (T6-8AEXW-LED-1) flow meter, which is capable of measuring 0.5 to 5 gpm with an accuracy of ±0.05% of the max flow rate. The calibration system used a 55 gallon tank, a scale capable of measuring up to 400lb with a precision of 0.02lb and LabVIEW controlled solenoid valves. The calibration check of the flow meter can be achieved by filling up the tank with water and measuring the change of weight with respect to time using a LabVIEW program. The temperature sensor calibration system will utilize an existing temperature bath from the Chemistry Department. Two designs of calibration systems were developed for the pressure sensors (Omegadyne Model PX419), with operating range from 0 to 250 psig and accuracy of 0.25% of full scale (i.e. 0.625psi). Both designs were both absolute measurement devices, meaning they used calibrated weights resting on a known area to create internal pressure inside a container, from which pressure sensor will be calibrated. One design incorporated a commercial bottle jack to act as a pressurized chamber; the second design used a custom made piston and chamber. The first design required a significant amount of weight to produce the 250 psig needed for calibration. The second design had a significantly smaller diameter piston, thus required much less weight to produce the desired pressure. Both calibration systems are currently being built to assess which will be the most beneficial to the lab.
Summer Internship 2011