Nowadays the design of large-scale structures can be effectively improved by the adoption of numerical models. Even if experimental tests still play a fundamental role, a methodological approach that combines experimental testing and modelling technique can significantly improve the understanding of the matter. This, in fact, would result in a more reliable optimization process, drastically reducing efforts and uncertainties towards the implementation of the final product. The present work deals with the development of a finite element model for the analysis of a full-scale prototype of an innovative parabolic trough collector. The collector is analysed under several load conditions in order to evaluate its structural behaviour. Each load configuration is also numerically reproduced. Moreover, it is demonstrated that the model is capable of reproducing both the global (stiffness) and local (strain state) behaviour of the structure. Specifically, the comparison between experimental data and numerical results show a good agreement for the global parameter torsional stiffness. Local strain values are also well reproduced in high-stressed zone. Thus, the model can be used as a reliable "virtual tool" for designers to evaluate the suitability of layout modifications, thereby replacing and reducing the amount of commonly needed experimental tests and, consequently, reducing time and costs. Finally, an example of the potentiality of the finite element model adopted for a computer-aided engineering approach is shown to determine the most promising solution for increasing the torsional stiffness of the trough, while simultaneously limiting the required experimental tests.

Finite Element Modelling of a Parabolic Trough Collector for Concentrated Solar Power

Gilioli, A.;Cadini, F.;Abbiati, L.;Solero, G. A. G.;Fossati, M.;Manes, A.;Carnelli, L.;Lazzari, C.;Cardamone, S.;Giglio, M.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Nowadays the design of large-scale structures can be effectively improved by the adoption of numerical models. Even if experimental tests still play a fundamental role, a methodological approach that combines experimental testing and modelling technique can significantly improve the understanding of the matter. This, in fact, would result in a more reliable optimization process, drastically reducing efforts and uncertainties towards the implementation of the final product. The present work deals with the development of a finite element model for the analysis of a full-scale prototype of an innovative parabolic trough collector. The collector is analysed under several load conditions in order to evaluate its structural behaviour. Each load configuration is also numerically reproduced. Moreover, it is demonstrated that the model is capable of reproducing both the global (stiffness) and local (strain state) behaviour of the structure. Specifically, the comparison between experimental data and numerical results show a good agreement for the global parameter torsional stiffness. Local strain values are also well reproduced in high-stressed zone. Thus, the model can be used as a reliable "virtual tool" for designers to evaluate the suitability of layout modifications, thereby replacing and reducing the amount of commonly needed experimental tests and, consequently, reducing time and costs. Finally, an example of the potentiality of the finite element model adopted for a computer-aided engineering approach is shown to determine the most promising solution for increasing the torsional stiffness of the trough, while simultaneously limiting the required experimental tests.
solar energy
concentrated solar power system
parabolic trough collector
numerical model
FEM
structural integrity
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1165932
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