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ANSI/ASAE S423 DEC1991 (R2012)

Thermal Performance Testing of Solar Ambient Air Heaters

American Society of
Agricultural and Biological Engineers

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engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. ASABE Standards are consensus documents
developed and adopted by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers to meet standardization
needs within the scope of the Society; principally agricultural field equipment, farmstead equipment, structures, soil
and water resource management, turf and landscape equipment, forest engineering, food and process engineering,
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ANSI/ASAE S423 DEC1991 (R2012)
Approved February 1993; reaffirmed February 2012 as an American National Standard

Thermal Performance Testing of Solar Ambient Air


Developed by the ASAE Solar Energy Committee; approved by the

ASAE Structures and Environment Division Standards Committee; mass flow rate per unit area and by the temperature rise of the air from
adopted by ASAE December 1991; approved as an American National entrance to exit of the collector, W/m2 (Btu/ft2h).
Standard February 1993; reaffirmed by ASAE December 1996;
2.8 Flow rate: The mass flow rate of air through the collector per unit of
reaffirmed by ANSI March 1998; reaffirmed by ASAE December 2001,
gross collector area, kg/hm2 (lb/hft2).
January 2007; reaffirmed by ANSI January 2007; reaffirmed by ASABE
and ANSI February 2012. 2.9 Gross area of a collector section: If only a section of a collector is
being tested, then the gross area of the section shall include a
Keywords: Heaters, Solar, Testing proportional share of the area of all supports and partitions of the entire
collector. Thus, the ratio of aperture area to gross area shall be the same
for the test section as for the entire collector.
1 Purpose and scope 2.10 Gross collector area: The area obtained by multiplying the width
1.1 The purpose of this Standard is to provide a method for testing the by the length of the outside of the collector; thus, the gross collector area
thermal efficiency of solar air heaters which are used exclusively for includes partitions between collector sections as well as framing and
heating ambient air. The test data should provide a basis for computing insulation around all collector sections, m2 (ft2).
economic value and for comparing efficiency of collectors of different
design and/or construction. Examples of use for solar ambient air heaters 2.11 Insolation: The total rate of solar radiation, direct and diffuse,
are preheating of ventilation air, heating make-up air for all types of incident on the outside surface of the gross collector area divided by the
environmental control systems, and heating of air to dry agricultural gross collector area, W/m2 (Btu/hft2).
products without recirculation. 2.12 Test day: A test day shall be continuous and consist of twenty-four
1.2 This test procedure simplifies the testing equipment needs, 15 min test periods (6 h). For a collector facing due south
procedures and computations as compared to the currently recognized (azimuth=0 deg), the time period should be from 9 am to 3 pm solar
methods, for example, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 93-1986, Method of time. For collectors with other azimuth angles, 3 h each side of the time
Testing to Determine the Thermal Performance of Solar Collectors. when the azimuth of the sun is the same as the collector azimuth could
be used.
1.3 The scope of this Standard is restricted to collectors which have a
fixed orientation and slope during the test and are used exclusively for 2.13 Test period: A test period has a 15 min duration.
heating ambient air. 2.14 Solar time: Time measured from solar noon. Solar noon is defined
1.4 This Standard provides the method for using a 6 h continuous test as the time when the sun is due south (north in the southern hemisphere)
consisting of twenty-four 15 min test periods. of the test location. Solar time as a function of standard time, can be
computed for any location in the US by use of the following equations:

2 Definitions ST T 4 SM L TE
2.1 Aperture area: The area of the absorber exposed to solar radiation, where
m2 (ft2).
2.2 Azimuth: The horizontal angle in degrees measured from due south ST solar time at the test location
in the northern hemisphere (due north in the southern hemisphere). The T standard time at the test location
sun is at zero azimuth at solar noon; a collector facing due south in the SM the applicable standard meridian*
northern hemisphere has an azimuth angle of zero. Other azimuth angles L the longitude of the test location
are measured west or east of the zero direction, for example S 20 E, S TE 9.87 sin 2X 7.53 cos X 1.5 sin X
15 W, etc.
2.3 Collector slope: The collector slope is the angle between the plane where
of the collector absorber and a horizontal surface, deg.
X 360 N 81 /364
2.4 Continuous data: Data taking is considered continuous if the
instrument measures and records data once each minute or more where
2.5 Daily efficiency: The collected energy of the collector for the test N Julian day number
day divided by the total solar energy incident on the gross collector area
for the same test day, dimensionless.
3 Instrumentation
2.6 Efficiency: The collected energy of the collector per test period
divided by the total solar energy incident on the gross collector area for 3.1 Barometer. The barometer accuracy shall be within 3%.
the same test period, dimensionless. Efficiency for short time periods 3.2 Data recorders. The accuracy of data recorders shall be within
(such as one test period, see paragraph 2.13) shall not be used as an 0.5% of full scale reading.
efficiency value unless the collector has quasi-steady state heat flow as 3.3 Flow measuring device. The flow measuring device shall provide
indicated by constant efficiency (1%) for 4 continuous test periods. measurements for computing the mass flow rate with an overall accuracy
2.7 Energy collected: The rate of energy collection by the test collector
per unit area of the gross collector area shall be computed from the *Applicable standard meridian is 75 W for Eastern, 90 W for Central, 105 W for
specific heat of air flowing through the measuring device multiplied by the Mountain, and 120 W for Pacific time zones in North America.

ANSI/ASAE S423 DEC1991 (R2012) Copyright American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers 1
of 3% of the measured rate or better. A calibrated orifice or nozzle is
suggested but an uncalibrated square edge orifice which has been
carefully designed, constructed, and installed should also be satisfactory
(Ref. Miller). Round plastic pipe with a machined plastic orifice may be
used for construction.
3.4 Humidity transducers. Relative humidity shall be obtained within
5% either by measurement or computation from measured data.
3.5 Manometer. The accuracy of the manometer for measuring pressure
drop across the collector shall be within 5 Pa
( 0.02 in . H 2 O ).
3.6 Pyranometer. The pyranometer shall measure the global shortwave
radiation incident in the plane of the collector cover with an accuracy of
3%. The pyranometer shall be mounted in the plane of the collector
cover within 1 m of the collector and situated so that it will receive the
same shortwave radiation as incident on the collector cover.
3.7 Thermocouples and thermometers. The accuracy of temperature
measuring devices shall be within 1 C.
3.8 Thermopile. A thermopile with 10 or more thermocouple junctions
on each end shall be used to measure the voltage difference from
entrance to exit of the collector. The accuracy of the voltage
measurement difference shall be sufficient for computing the temperature
rise through the collector with an accuracy of 0.2 C or less.
3.9 Wind speed and direction. The wind speed shall be measured with Figure 1 Arrangement of test equipment and collector
an accuracy of 5%, and wind direction shall be measured with an
accuracy of 10 deg.
*Absorber is attached to the insulation for flow over the absorber or to an
additional layer for flow both sides of the absorber or flow under the
absorber. The absorber is the top air seal for flow under the absorber.
4 Testing conditions
4.1 Airflow rate. The testing rate of airflow through the collector shall be
established at a constant value at least 1/2 h before the beginning of the
test to avoid a major transient heat flow at start up. 5.3 Wind measurement. Wind velocity and wind direction shall be
4.2 Environmental conditions. The solar radiation and wind speed measured at mid collector height within a distance of 2 m from the test
during the test should be typical of the environmental conditions collector. Continuous measurement with an hourly average is preferred.
expected during actual use of the collector. The average insolation during Hourly measurement will be accepted.
the test shall not be less than 400 W/m2. 5.4 Pressure drop. The static pressure difference between the collector
4.3 Mass flow rate. The established mass flow rate of air shall not vary entrance and exit at the test mass flow rate shall be measured during the
by more than 5% during the test. The mass flow rate shall be measured first and final hour of the test and reported as the pressure required to
at the collector exhaust. It is suggested that the established rate of flow produce the test mass flow rate at the respective times.
be set 3 to 6% higher than the desired test value. Fans tend to move a 5.5 Temperature rise. The temperature rise from the entrance to the
constant volume per unit time which results in a smaller mass flow rate exit of the collector shall be measured using a thermopile consisting of 10
as the collector outlet air temperature increases. The small increase in or more thermocouple junctions in each of the entrance and exit
mass flow rate at the beginning of the test should assist in maintaining airstreams. The individual thermocouples of the thermopile are to be
the desired average mass flow rate. distributed across the entrance and exit to obtain the average
temperature difference between the entrance and exit locations. The
thermocouple locations shall avoid direct radiation from the absorber or
5 Test procedure sun (see Fig. 1).
5.1 Test facility. The arrangement of test equipment and collector is 5.6 Data logging. Measurements of insolation, ambient temperature, air
illustrated in Fig. 1. The air-moving device may force air into the collector temperature flowing through the measuring device, and temperature rise
being tested; however, the mass flow rate must be measured in the of air passing through the collector shall be made continuously with 15
exhaust. min averages being recorded for use in future computations.
5.2 Collector test unit. The total collector, or a typical (representative) 5.7 The established flow rate shall be measured at least once during
section of the collector, consisting of at least 15% of the entire collector, each 15 min test period.
shall be used for the test. If a typical section is used for the test, the
following conditions must be met: 5.8 The local barometric pressure (not adjusted to sea level as used at
US weather stations), and the relative humidity or the wet bulb
5.2.1 The gross area of the section shall be computed according to temperature shall be measured at the beginning and the end of each test
Section 2Definitions, and the gross area must be used in computing day.
the energy incident on the collector section.
5.2.2 To prevent air leakage from adjacent sections into the test section,
the flow channels adjacent to the test section must be operated at equal 6 Computations
pressure to the test flow channel. If all flow channels are constructed
alike, it is sufficient for this condition to measure the pressure difference 6.1 For each 15 min interval for which data were recorded during the
between the adjacent flow channel and the first flow channel of the test test, the following parameters shall be computed and recorded:
section and make adjustments in the flow rate so that the pressures are 6.1.1 The mass rate of airflow through the test collector. For computing
equal at the maximum pressure location; that is, at the end next to the the density of air flowing through the measuring device, ASAE Data
air-moving device. D271, Psychrometric Data, shall be used with the local barometric

ANSI/ASAE S423 DEC1991 (R2012) Copyright American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers 2
pressure and humidity. Adjustment of the mass flow rate to account for 7.2.3 The total energy collected for the test day.
pressure and temperature of the air in the flow measuring device is 7.2.4 Total solar radiation incident on the gross area of the collector.
7.2.5 The average efficiency during the test.
6.1.2 Temperature rise through the collector using data from the
thermopile. 7.2.6 The average wind velocity and direction during the test.
6.1.3 Total solar energy collected. 7.2.7 The average ambient temperature during the test.
6.1.4 Incident solar radiation on the gross collector area. 7.2.8 The maximum temperature rise through the collector with the
corresponding incident solar radiation.
6.1.5 The 15 min average efficiency of the collector.
7.3 The following general information shall be reported:
6.2 The average hourly wind velocity and direction shall be computed
and recorded. 7.3.1 The date and hours of the test.
6.3 The following daily values shall be computed: 7.3.2 The location, azimuth, and slope of the collector.
6.3.1 The average mass airflow rate. 7.3.3 The aperture area and gross area of the collector.
6.3.2 The average temperature rise. 7.3.4 The average pressure drop from collector entrance to collector
6.3.3 The total energy collected.
7.3.5 A sketch of the collector showing the components of the collector,
6.3.4 The total solar radiation on the tested collector gross area. materials of construction, dimensions, the flow path of air through the
6.3.5 The average daily efficiency computed by dividing the total energy collector, airflow measuring device and air-moving device, and the
collected by the total solar radiation on the gross collector area. location of sensors.
6.3.6 The average wind velocity and direction. 7.3.6 A description of all instruments used, overall accuracy of each
instrument and the basis for the accuracy parameter including date and
7 Report accuracy of last calibration; i.e., calibrated 5% (by individual or
company and date).
7.1 The preferred data report should include all the 15 min parameters
computed in Section 6Computations, so that the variability during the
test will be available to the reader. Reference
7.2 The report shall include the following daily parameters: Miller, R. W. 1983. Flow measurement engineering handbook. McGraw Hill.

7.2.1 The average mass flow rate for the total test day per unit gross Cited Standards:
area of the collector or the section of the collector tested. If a test section
of the collector is used, the gross area of the total collector and the test ANSI/ASHRAE 93-1986, Method of Testing to Determine the Thermal
section shall be reported. Performance of Solar Collectors
7.2.2 The average temperature rise through the collector. ASAE D271, Psychrometric Data

ANSI/ASAE S423 DEC1991 (R2012) Copyright American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers 3