Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Case Studies in Thermal Engineering






School of Engineering




Shafieian, A., Bahrami, H. R., Roostaee, A., & Feyzi, S. S. (2023). Effects of different inlet configurations on the performance of solar storage tanks: A three-dimensional unsteady CFD simulation. Case Studies in Thermal Engineering, 45, 103019.


A validated three-dimensional unsteady computational fluid dynamics analysis is performed in this study to investigate the effects of the inlet flow conditions on the thermal performance of solar storage tanks. First, effects of different mass flow rates on the thermal performance of a simple tank (Model 1, single inlet and single outlet) are investigated. The results show that higher mass flow rates deteriorate thermocline and thermal stratification which is desirable. To reduce the unfavorable effects of inlet jet mixing with stagnant fluid, the mass flow rates are divided equally between two inlet ports in the next model (Model 2). The results show that this model acts better than previous model form heat transfer point of view. In the next model (Model 3), the simple inlet port is replaced by a circular truncated cone shaped diffuser to reduce the momentum of the jet and impede unwanted mixing in the tank. The effects of the diffuser aspect ratio are analysed at fixed mass flow rates. The results reveal that small aspect ratios improve the performance of the tank while higher aspect ratios deteriorate the performance because of strongly adverse pressure gradient occurred inside the diffuser, which consequently results in a high-speed core flow, that contradicts with the idea of employing a diffuser. The outcomes indicate that only the aspect ratios between 1.0 and 1.5 have positive effects. In the final section, the study continues by modifying Model 3 through examining different orientations of the inlet port with respect to horizon (Model 4). Different angels including −30°, −15°, 15°, 30° are considered and the results show that changing inlet orientation is not as effective as the previous modifications.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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