The thermal performance of a cylindrical solar cavity with a convective boundary is modeled using Monte Carlo ray tracing to evaluate the impact of the geometry and the spectral characteristics of the surface on the absorption efficiency and the spatial distribution of temperature. Increasing cavity size for a fixed aperture size increases absorption efficiency and reduces wall temperature. Inconel, which serves effectively as a selective surface, provides the highest absorption efficiencies at over 90%. A surface coating of aluminum oxide produces a more uniform and lower average temperature distribution.
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Received 27 January 2012; accepted 25 May 2012. All computations used to generate data for this publication were carried out at the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) at the University of Minnesota. The support of the University of Minnesota through the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE) is gratefully acknowledged. Address correspondence to Jane H. Davidson, University of Minnesota, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 111 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. E-mail: email@example.com
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