This paper deals with the analytical investigation of thermal and thermohydraulic performance of double flow solar air heaters with corrugated and flat plate absorber. A mathematical model of double flow solar air heater has been presented, and a computer program in C++ language is developed to estimate the outlet temperature of air for the evaluation of thermal and thermohydraulic efficiency by solving the governing equations numerically using relevant correlations for heat transfer coefficients. The results obtained from the mathematical model is compared with the available experimental results and it is found to be reasonably good. The results show that the double flow solar air heaters have higher efficiency than conventional solar air heater, although the double flow corrugated absorber is superior to that of flat plate double flow solar air heater. It is also observed that the thermal efficiency increases with increase in mass flow rate; however, thermohydraulic efficiency increases with increase in mass flow rate up to a certain limit, attains the maximum value, then thereafter decreases sharply.
Channel depth is an important design parameter to be fixed in designing a solar air heater. In this paper, a mathematical model has been developed to study the influence of channel duct on the thermal performance of solar air heaters. The channel depth has been varied from 1.5 cm to 3.5 cm for the mass flow range 0.01 to 0.11 kg/s. Based on first law of thermodynamics, the channel depth of 1.5 cm shows better thermal performance for all the mass flow range. Also, better thermohydraulic performance has been found up to 0.05 kg/s, and beyond this, thermohydraulic efficiency starts decreasing. It has been seen that, with the increase in the mass flow rate, the difference between thermal and thermohydraulic efficiency increases because of the increase in pressure drop. At lower mass flow rate, 0.01 kg/s, the thermal and thermohydraulic efficiencies for respective channel depth remain the same.