In high temperature solar energy applications highly concentrating optical systems, such as, e.g., parabolic dishes, achieve typical radiation flux densities >2 MW/m2. In order to investigate thermo and photochemical reactions at temperatures >1500 K and radiation flux densities >2 MW/m2 a solar furnace was built at Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). This furnace is a two-stage concentrator. The first stage is a prefocusing glass heliostat with a focal length of 100 m. The second stage is a highly concentrating parabolic dish with a focal length of 1.93 m. To design experiments to be carried out in the focal region of the parabolic dish, the radiation flux as well as its density distribution have to be known. This distribution is usually measured by radiometric methods. However, these methods are generally rather troublesome because of the high temperatures involved. In this paper we present a simple method to estimate the characteristic features of the radiation flux density distribution in the focal region of a concentrator system. It is well known from solar eclipses that the mean angular diameter of the moon is almost equal to that of the sun (9.1 mrad versus 9.3 mrad). Hence, the lunar disk is well suited to be used as a light source to investigate the flux distribution in a solar furnace. Compared to the sun the flux density is reduced by 4·105 and the flux density distribution can be inspected on a sheet of paper located in the plane of interest, e.g., the focal plane. This distribution was photographed and analyzed by means of an image processing system. The density distribution was also simulated using a Monte Carlo ray tracing program. Based on this comparison, and on further ray tracing computations, we show that the peak flux density decreases from 8.9 MW/m2 in December to values below 4 MW/m2 in June and the net radiation flux from 25 kW to 15 kW, respectively.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.