9 August 2016 Cooling a solar telescope enclosure: plate coil thermal analysis
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The climate of Haleakalā requires the observatories to actively adapt to changing conditions in order to produce the best possible images. Observatories need to be maintained at a temperature closely matching ambient or the images become blurred and unusable. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope is a unique telescope as it will be active during the day as opposed to the other night-time stellar observatories. This means that it will not only need to constantly match the ever-changing temperature during the day, but also during the night so as not to sub-cool and affect the view field of other telescopes while they are in use.

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.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Michael Gorman, Michael Gorman, Chriselle Galapon, Chriselle Galapon, Guillermo Montijo, Guillermo Montijo, LeEllen Phelps, LeEllen Phelps, Gaizka Murga, Gaizka Murga, "Cooling a solar telescope enclosure: plate coil thermal analysis", Proc. SPIE 9911, Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VI, 99111U (9 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232160; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232160


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