Effect of water flow in a solar still using novel materials

  • C. Suresh
  • S. ShanmuganEmail author


The effects of novel materials, viz. phase-change material and nanoparticles, and water flowing over a glass cover on the performance of a single-slope single-basin solar still for use in solar thermal applications are presented and discussed. The results obtained with and without PCM and nanoparticles are compared with those for a conventional solar still on summer days. Numerical simulations and experiments were carried out to provide solutions for the temperatures of the flowing water, glass cover, novel materials [i.e., fin with cotton wick (FWCW), fin with jute wick (FWJW), and PCM], and nanoparticle basin liner. The daily production rate of distillate from pure saline water by the solar still was enhanced by using a drip button due to the absorptive capability of FWCW of 70.02%, resulting in daily (24 h) distillate production of 9.429 kg m−2 day−1, while the effect of water flowing over the glass cover was 13.37%, being 25% higher than without PCM and nanoparticles, respectively. The enhanced performance of the solar still was investigated using Fourier analysis with harmonics from 6 to −6, revealing good agreement with the observations, validating the theoretical and experimental analysis of the system.


PCM Nanoparticles Fin wick Drip button Water flowing over glass cover Fourier series 

List of symbols


Breadth of solar still (m)

\(C_{\text{Fw}} - c_{\text{fw}}\)

Specific heat of fin wick and flowing water (J kg−1 °C−1)


Solar radiation (W m−2)

\(h_{\text{b + PCM + Nanoparticles }}\)

Overall bottom heat loss coefficient from basin liner to ambient with improvement due to use of PCM and nanoparticles (W m−2 °C−1)


Total heat transfer coefficient from fin wick water surface to glass cover (W m−2 °C−1)


Convective and radiative heat transfer coefficient from cooling water flow under glass cover to ambient (W m−2 °C−1)


Convective heat transfer coefficient from PCM and nanoparticles by basin liner to water mass (W m−2 °C−1)


Convective heat transfer coefficient from glass cover to flowing water (W m−2 °C−1)


Thickness of flowing water over glass cover (m)


Fin wick mass in basin surface area (kg)


Mass flow rate of water (kg m−2 h−1)


Heat flux of still (W m−2)


Evaporative heat transfer rate (W m−2)

R1 and R2

Two constants obtained from saturation vapor data (°C)


Ambient temperature (°C)

\(T_{{{\text{b}} + {\text{PCM}} + {\text{Nanoparticles}} }}\)

Temperature of PCM and nanoparticles in basin surface area (°C)


Temperature of glass cover (°C)


Temperature of flowing water (°C)


Temperature of fin wick water surface (°C)


Surface temperature of sun (°C)

Greek letters

\(\alpha_{\text{b + PCM + Nanoparticles}}\)

Energy absorptivity of PCM and nanoparticles in basin surface area


Energy absorptivity of glass cover


Energy absorptivity of fin wick water mass


Energy absorptivity of flowing water


Energy efficiency of still



Fin with cotton wick


Fin with jute wick



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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringVel Tech Multitech Dr. Rangarajan Dr. Sakunthala Engineering CollegeAvadi, ChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Research Center of PhysicsKoneru Lakshmaiah Education Foundation (KLEF - KLU)VaddeswaramIndia

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