To accomplish this task, plate coil heat exchanger panels will be installed on the DKIST enclosure that are designed to keep the temperature at ambient temperature +0°C/-4°C. To verify the feasibility of this and to validate the design models, a test rig has been installed at the summit of Haleakalā. The project’s purpose is to confirm that the plate coil panels are capable of maintaining this temperature throughout all seasons and involved collecting data sets of various variables including pressures, temperatures, coolant flows, solar radiations and wind velocities during typical operating hours. Using MATLAB, a script was written to observe the plate coil’s thermal performance. The plate coil did not perform as expected, achieving a surface temperature that was generally 2ºC above ambient temperature. This isn’t to say that the plate coil does not work, but the small chiller used for the experiment was undersized resulting in coolant pumped through the plate coil that was not supplied at a low enough temperature. Calculated heat depositions were about 23% lower than that used as the basis of the design for the hillers to be used on the full system, a reasonable agreement given the fact that many simplifying assumptions were used in the models. These were not carried over into the testing.
The test rig performance showing a 23% margin provides a high degree of confidence for the performance of the full system when it is installed. If time allows, additional testing could be done that includes additional incident angles and times of day. This would allow a more complete analysis. If additional testing were to be performed, it’s recommended to use a larger chiller capable of reaching lower temperatures. The test rig design could also be optimized in order to bring the plate coil up to its maximum efficiency. In the future, the script could be rewritten in a different computer language, so that the data could be solved for quicker. Further analysis could also include different types of coolants.