Applications of Lightweight Materials in Solar Energy Systems: Mechanical Durability Analysis

Project: Research

Project Details


The dependence on alternative energy is booming as the world is shifting from fossil based energy sources to clean and renewable resources such as, but not limited to, solar, wind and geothermal. These systems have structural components that can be subjected to variety of mechanical loading conditions. Solar and wind energy systems are usually subjected to wind, continuous thermal cycles and humidity. The effects of these loadings could be critical in severe weather conditions. It is well established in the literature that the efficiency of solar panels can be increased by 25-38% using solar tracking systems. However, sun tracking introduces some challenges that require careful design considerations. The use of joints to facilitate mobility of the module creates stress concentration making the frame prone to cracking. In addition, the amount of power required to rotate the module, often using electric motor, should be reduced to improve the overall performance of the power station. Durability analysis can be used to design the structural component of the module to enhance its life expectancy. On the other hand, the required power to mobilize the module can be reduced using lightweight materials. This proposal aims to investigate the mechanical durability of solar-tracking system manufactured from lightweight materials. Computational fluid dynamics, finite element, experimental and analytical analyses will be performed.
Effective start/end date11/04/1611/01/18


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