Influence of eccentricity on the thermomechanical performance of a bayonet tube of a central solar receiver

Thumbnail Image
Publication date
Defense date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Google Scholar
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
This work numerically evaluates the thermal and mechanical behaviors of eccentric bayonet tubes to be used in external central receivers of solar power tower plants. A bayonet tube is composed of two tubes, one inside the other, creating circular and annular sections, through which the molten salt of the receiver sequentially flows. Eccentricity in the annular section is achieved by displacing the axis of the interior tube with regard to the exterior one. For comparative purposes, two examples of conventional tubes (single tubes with circular cross-sections with diameters of 25mm and 50mm) are also investigated in this work to compare their performances with those of bayonet tubes. The results obtained with the eccentric configurations show an enhancement of the heat transfer to the molten salt and a reduction of the tube wall overheating compared with the concentric bayonet tubes and the largest simple tube. For conditions representative of the normal operation of a solar power tower, eccentric bayonet tubes could reduce the pressure drop by 30.8% and increase the convective heat transfer achieved in a concentric configuration of the bayonet tube by 26.1%. Nevertheless, this pressure drop was considerably higher than those obtained in the smallest and largest simple tubes, which were 1.28 bar and 0.13 bar, respectively. To investigate whether the enhancement of the convection heat transfer experienced by bayonet tubes compensates for their higher pressure drop or not, a Performance Evaluation Criterion (PEC) was proposed and used to compare the global performance of bayonet tubes with that of conventional tubes. The bayonet tubes with eccentricity 0.45 obtained the largest PEC, which was up to 13% higher than reference conventional tubes. Enhancement of the tube wall refrigeration produced when increasing the eccentricity is reflected in the maximum tube temperature and thermal stresses, which are found to diminish by approximately 8.8% with the highest eccentricity. In addition, the largest eccentric bayonet tube layout obtains the smallest peak temperatures compared to conventional tubes. The lower inertial moment of the smallest conventional tube indicates that its thermal stress is 2.1% lower than the stress obtained in the most eccentric layout analyzed in this work. Nevertheless, the time to rupture associated with creep damage of the eccentric bayonet tube is 1.04 times higher than that obtained in the smallest simple tube, demonstrating that bayonet tubes could be a potential alternative to the current tubes of external tubular receivers.
Convection heat transfer, Eccentric bayonet tubes, Non-uniform heating, Numerical simulation, Solar tower plant, Thermal stresses
Bibliographic citation
Pérez-Álvarez, R., Marugán-Cruz, C., Santana, D., & Acosta-Iborra, A. (2023). Influence of eccentricity on the thermomechanical performance of a bayonet tube of a central solar receiver. Applied Thermal Engineering, 223(119988).