VDAS TE38 - Experiment


A self-contained and mobile focusing solar energy collector unit to allow practical investigations into the principles of harnessing solar energy to produce heat energy.

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A focusing solar energy collector on a mobile frame. Specially designed for educational use, the apparatus shows the principles, advantages and limits of this method of capturing solar energy.

It is a highly-polished stainless steel parabolic reflector, supported on trunnion bearings on a turntable. By adjusting the horizontal and vertical position of the reflector, students focus solar energy onto an energy collector. The energy collector is a copper cylinder with an embedded thermocouple that measures the cylinder temperature.

To enable students to compare different concentration ratios, TecQuipment supply four different sizes of energy collector. Also supplied is a removable transparent cover for the collector, so students can study the properties of shielded and unshielded collectors.

Attached to the reflector carrier is a solarimeter (pyranometer) that measures the incident solar radiation. An extra thermocouple measures ambient temperature for reference.

The cylinder thermocouple, the solarimeter and the ambient temperature thermocouple connect to a Display Unit. The Instrumentation Unit shows ambient temperature, collector temperature and solar intensity from the solarimeter. It also has a socket for connection to TecQuipment’s optional VDAS®.

The equipment works with TecQuipment’s Versatile Data Acquisition System (VDAS-B, not included). TecQuipment’s VDAS® allows accurate real-time data capture, monitoring, display, calculation and charting of all the important readings on a computer.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrations of the performance, advantages and limitations of a focusing solar energy collector
  • Understanding the effective use of the direct component of solar radiation
  • Measurement of the efficiency of the collector with and without a transparent cover
  • Measurement of the maximum possible energy collector temperature.
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