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Solar Panel Breakage During Heavy Rain Caused by Thermal Stress

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngineered Transparency 2016
Subtitle of host publicationGlass in Architechture and Structural Engineering
PublisherWiley
ISBN (Print)978-3-433-03187-2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventENGINEERED TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE -
Duration: 1 Jan 1900 → …

Conference

ConferenceENGINEERED TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Period1/01/00 → …

Abstract

Solar panels and thermal collectors are increasingly popular. There is practical experience of large numbers of solar panel glasses being broken during heavy rain. The present paper studies the role of mean heat transfer between rain and the glass on the breaking. Thin tempered glass is preferred for its low weight, durability, and good optical quality. However, thin glass tempering is expensive and by understanding relevant stresses costs can be avoided. The heat transfer between a solid surface and rain is studied experimentally using a hot copper block and free falling drops. The thermal stresses are solved using a one-dimensional theory and the measured mean heat transfer coefficient.
The thermal stresses depend on rain rate, surface inclination, glass thickness and temperature difference. The results show that, expect for word record approaching rain rates, the thermal stresses are below 10 MPa. A non-heat treated soda-lime glass should withstand this stress without breaking. The
used rain rates were R = 1100, 340, 110 mm/h and the maximum mean heat transfer coefficients h = 600, 250, 140 W/m 2 K, respectively. All else being equal, the maximum mean heat transfer was observed for surfaces that were inclined 15° from horizontal. Based on the results in the present paper
the mean rain heat transfer causes no need to temper soda-lime glass to be use in solar panels. However, one should remember that thermal stresses must be added to all the other stresses.

Keywords

  • Thermal stress, heat transfer, rain, experimental, one-dimensional

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland