Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2016


Mechanical Engineering Technology

Committee Chair

Roger Beardsley

Second Committee Member

Charles Pringle

Third Committee Member

Craig Johnson


During the course of this project, a solar thermal collector and supporting stand were designed and manufactured to be used during Mechanical Engineering Technology labs. Students will be able to use the collector to heat water, with the sun being the only heat source. The collector was designed by calculating surface area limitations, estimated solar input, and desired efficiency, to find the required water flow rate. From there, the necessary pipe lengths and diameters were determined, and the solar thermal collector was constructed. Two pipe paths were manufactured: a curved path, and a manifold path. Students will be able to test the difference in efficiency between the two paths, with the potential for other forms of manipulation and experimentation. Furthermore, the collector requires ease of transport from the classroom to outdoor areas for use, necessitating a mobile stand that people of different builds can operate. Considering this, size, portability, and ease of use were primary intents in the stand design. Statics, strengths of materials analyses, and mechanical design principles determined placement of features with minimized size and weight to support the loadings created by the solar heating system. The result was a stand with solid support for the solar collector and water tank with the balance to provide easy transport by an average person into and out of a building. This report will show the results of the heating capacity and efficiency of the collector at varying solar inputs, as well as the physics behind the stand design.


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