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Structural Analysis of Sollector Solar Tracking System

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Our client is innovating an efficient way to collect solar energy for the production of industrial process heat and electrical power. A new solar tracking system is developed, wherein the parabolic dish moves and tracks the sun through the day and through the seasons. The client had named the system “Sollector”. As a result dish reaches extreme orientations with respect to its baseline support. The client desired to conduct FEA based structural analysis to identify the sections where the stresses and displacements are maximum and accordingly undertake modifications to make the design more robust and reliable.

Structural integrity of the system needs to be evaluated for its survival against load of 150 kmph wind speed. 6 combinations of different positions and orientation of the dish were analyzed. Wind load was generated using CFD simulation and its distribution was mapped for structured analysis; Proprietary CFD to FEA load mapping tool was utilized. A static structural analysis of system revealed regions of high stresses that were prone to failure.

(a) Representative image of Sollactor (b) Stress distribution at extreme orientation

Customer was delivered with an analysis report. To strengthen the system, some changes in section design and additional stiffeners were recommended. The recommendations were supported by another set of structural analysis. The study allowed the customer to proceed with fabrication of solar collector system with a decent level of confidence.

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