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COMMISSIONING OF A SOLAR DRYER

AAA 01/2016

BY:
ANDEBE KUTWA F18/36660/2010
GRIFFIN WESONGA SOITA F18/1498/2011

PROJECT SUPERVISOR:
DR. ALEX A. AGANDA
YEAR: 2015/2016
THIS PROJECT IS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE AWARD OF THE DEGREE
OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN MECHANICAL AND
MANUFACTURING ENGINEERING
DECLARATION
We certify that this project is our original work and has not been presented for a degree in any
other university to the best of our knowledge.

GRIFFIN WESONGA SOITA F18/1498/2011

Signature :________________ Date:________________

KUTWA ANDEBE F18/36660/2010

Signature :________________ Date:________________

This project has been submitted for examination with my approval as the University Academic
Supervisor

Dr. ALEX A. AGANDA (supervisor)

Signature :________________ Date:_________________

i
DEDICATION
To our Parents, who through their financial and moral support were the source of motivation and
the support to attaining our education, we bestow this project.

ii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We wish to express our gratitude to all those who provided help and cooperation in various ways
at the different stages of this project. Special thanks are conveyed to Dr. A. Aganda for supervising
and guidance, help and advice in supervising this project. Also we wish to express our great
gratitude and deepest appreciation to our supervisor, Mr. Maina for his efforts in this project. Also
we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the chairman of the Department of Mechanical
Engineering in University of Nairobi for approving our request for financial assistance from the
department, all staff members in Mechanical Engineering Department and also for all members in
Examination Committee.

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ABSTRACT
The solar drying system utilizes solar energy to heat up air and to dry any food and nonfood
substance loaded in it, which is beneficial in reducing wastage of agricultural product and helps in
preservation of agricultural product. Based on the limitations of the natural sun drying e.g.
exposure to direct sunlight, liability to pests and rodents lack of proper monitoring, and the
escalated cost of the mechanical dryer, a solar dryer is therefore developed to cater for these
limitations.

This project deals with the commissioning of a solar dryer that consists of a parabolic collector
and a drying cabinet. In the drying system, the air is heated indirectly in the solar collector then it
is passed through a loaded drying cabinet with products. The results obtained during the test period
shown that the temperatures inside the dryer was averaging at 79℃ and that in solar collector exit
was averaging 104℃ which were much higher than the ambient temperature during most hours
of the day-light. The temperature rise inside the drying cabinet was up to 172% for about three
hours immediately after 12.00pm (noon). The dryer exhibited sufficient ability to dry cotton rugs
reasonably rapidly to a safe moisture level and simultaneously it ensures a superior quality of the
dried product.

The highest temperature recorded for mass flow rate of 0.0344kgs-1was 128℃ at the collector exit
and 88℃ inside the dryer. The useful energy used was 1878.412Js-1 on average and maximum of
2627Js-1.The pickup efficiency was 17% and the drying efficiency was 39%.

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CONTENTS
DECLARATION.......................................................................................................................................... i
DEDICATION............................................................................................................................................. ii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ......................................................................................................................... iii
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................................ iv
CHAPTER 1 ................................................................................................................................................. 1
1.1 INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................................. 1
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT ................................................................................................................. 4
1.3 OBJECTIVES ..................................................................................................................................... 5
CHAPTER 2 ................................................................................................................................................. 6
LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................................................................................. 6
2.1 DRYING REVIEW ............................................................................................................................ 6
2.1.1 HEAT NEEDED FOR VAPORIZATION................................................................................... 6
2.1.2 HEAT TRANSFER DURING DRYING..................................................................................... 7
2.1.3 THE DRYER AND DRYING EFFICIENCIES .......................................................................... 8
2.2 DRYING AND PSYCHROMETRY .................................................................................................. 9
2.2.1 Psychrometric Charts ................................................................................................................. 10
2.3 EQUILIBRIUM MOISTURE CONTENT ....................................................................................... 11
2.4 AIR DRYING ................................................................................................................................... 11
2.5 CLASSIFICATION OF DRYING SYSTEMS................................................................................. 12
2.5.1. High temperature dryers............................................................................................................ 12
2.5.2. Low temperature dryers ............................................................................................................ 12
2.6 SOLAR DRYERS ............................................................................................................................. 12
CHAPTER 3 ............................................................................................................................................... 14
METHODOLOGY ..................................................................................................................................... 14
3.1 INFORMATION ABOUT THE DRYER......................................................................................... 14
3.1.1 The Drying Cabinet:................................................................................................................... 15
3.1.2 Drying line and rack:.................................................................................................................. 15
3.1.3 The blower ................................................................................................................................. 15
3.1.4 Ducting unit ............................................................................................................................... 15
3.1.5 Collector:.................................................................................................................................... 15
3.2 OPERATION OF THE DRYER....................................................................................................... 17
3.2.1 Drying mechanism ..................................................................................................................... 17

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3.3 BASIC THEORY (FORMULATIONS) ........................................................................................... 18
3.3.1 Energy Balance of the collector ................................................................................................. 18
3.3.2 Energy Balance Equation for the Drying Process ...................................................................... 20
3.4 PERFORMANCE PARAMETERS OF THE DRYER .................................................................... 21
3.4.1 Efficiency ................................................................................................................................... 21
3.4.2 Moisture content ........................................................................................................................ 23
3.5 APPARATUS USED ........................................................................................................................ 24
3.5.1 Thermocouple ............................................................................................................................ 24
3.5.2 Orifice ........................................................................................................................................ 24
3.5.2.2 Calculating the Mass Flow Rate ............................................................................................. 25
3.6 THE EXPERIMENTAL SET-UP ..................................................................................................... 27
3.6.1 Collector and fan setup .............................................................................................................. 27
3.6.2 The drying cabinet and ducting system setup. ........................................................................... 28
3.6.3.7 Mass flow rate setting ............................................................................................................. 29
3.7 EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE ................................................................................................... 30
3.7.1 Dryer without Load .................................................................................................................... 30
3.7.2 Loading the Dryer ...................................................................................................................... 31
CHAPTER 4 ............................................................................................................................................... 32
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS ............................................................................................................... 32
4.1MASS FLOW RATE OF THE USED AIR ....................................................................................... 32
4.2 WITHOUT LOAD RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND TEMPERATURES ........................................ 32
4.2.1 Temperature variation ................................................................................................................ 32
4.2.2 Relative Humidity Inside and Outside the Dryer ....................................................................... 33
4.3 THE TEMPERATURE AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY OF LOADED DRYER ........................... 34
4.3.1 Temperature variations .............................................................................................................. 34
4.3.2 Relative Humidity For Loaded Dryer And Ambient. ................................................................ 35
4.4 THE RATE OF DRYING AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF DRYER.......................................... 36
4.4.1 The Rate of Drying of Cotton Rugs ........................................................................................... 36
4.4.2 Moisture content of drying clothes (wet basis analysis) ............................................................ 37
4.5 SOLAR DRYER CALCULATIONS ............................................................................................... 37
4.5.1 Heat gain by air from collector .................................................................................................. 38
4.5.2 Energy Balance Equation for the Drying Process ...................................................................... 39
4.5.3 Volume of air needed for drying ................................................................................................ 40
4.6 PERFORMANCE PARAMETERS OF THE DRYER .................................................................... 41
4.6.1 Efficiency ................................................................................................................................... 41

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CHAPTER 5 ............................................................................................................................................... 43
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION .......................................................................................... 43
5.1 CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................................. 43
5.2 RECOMMENDATIONS .................................................................................................................. 43
REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................................... 45

vii
CHAPTER 1
1.1 INTRODUCTION
Energy is very crucial for the growth and survival of the human. The conventional energy sources
have adverse effects on the environment. More focus should be directed towards the renewable
and new sources of energy [1]. Fossil fuels have become more expensive and availability is
declining. In addition its effects on climate change has caused the need to put increase in the
emphasis on the utilization of the other renewable energy resources. Some of the renewable
sources of energy available are wind, biomass, geothermal heat and sun. Among these solar energy
is the most abundant in the tropical regions of the world. The tropical regions such as the East
Africa region enjoys 51% of the earth’s concentrated sunlight. For example in Kenya, studies
sponsored by ministry of energy has that Kenya receives averagely 4.5 kWh per square meter in a
day [2].

The solar energy is an environmental friendly source of energy and readily available. On the
contrary, solar availability is dependable on the geographical conditions such as seasons and the
location. Therefore, there is need to explore the appropriate application of solar energy. Solar
concentration technologies with high efficiencies is realistic venture. The energy from solar is
freely available and environmental friendly therefore accepted as the most suitable alternative
energy source. The focus should be geared towards converting the solar energy into heat energy
for the many other application. Solar energy availability is however not consistent as it is
dependable on the climatological conditions and location. The biggest setback on the applications
of solar energy is in its unpredictability nature. The best solution to counter this setback is storing
the energy from solar for the future use. Solar power has found many application in Kenya for
example drying, water heating application and solar electric power generation through solar
panels. In this report will focus our discussion on the solar drying application [3]

For many years drying has been used for food preservation. Combining the heat from the sun with
wind has helped in the drying of products for preservation with food being the main product. The
application of solar technology is gaining acceptance in the agricultural sector especially in drying.
Its inexhaustible, abundance and non-polluting nature makes it the best alternative to wind and
fossil fuels. In drying application solar air heaters are the main component used. These devices
are used for heating air using heat generated from sun radiation. The heated air is then used for
1
drying. The temperature of the heated air could be controlled according to the drying application.
Drying is an energy demanding process hence an expensive method when the convectional energy
sources are used. Therefore, drying of products using solar energy is a desired method [4].

Thermal application of solar energy in drying is one of the potential method in the developing
countries. On the contrary there is very little penetration of this technology in these countries. For
the market penetration of solar dryers, it is of utmost importance to identify the suitable areas of
application.

Solar drying is differentiated from sun drying for its application require harnessing the irradiative
energy of sun through apparatus for drying. Sun drying in its definition is where the sun energy is
directly used for drying. It is the most common method used for drying in the tropical regions of
the world especially areas where the outdoor temperature attains temperatures of about 30℃ for
example the East Africa region. However, the daily conditions of weather frequently impede the
use of sun drying due to spoilages which arises as a result of rehydration during unpredicted rainy
days. Additionally, in clothes sun drying the adverse wind that occur outside might lead to dirtying
or even blowing off of clothes from the lines. Consequently, the use of solar dryers warrants the
product quality through the protective use of drying cabinet. Most products dried using solar dryer
are food products for example meat, vegetables, fruits and grain. Solar dryer has the following
advantages over sun drying [4].

• It is faster. The materials to be dried in solar dryer takes a shorter time. This is effected
by the controlled solar air heater that heats the air to high temperature and through
controlling of the flow rates of drying air.

• It is very efficient. The materials are dried more rapidly hence a lot of products could be
dried in the solar dryer. Also, few of the product will be lost through damage.

• It is hygienic. The quality of product is warranted for it is well secured in the drying
cabinet that could be locked. Therefore dirtying of products cannot occur.

• It is relatively cheap. Through the application of the freely existing solar energy as a
substitute of the conventional sources of energy that are rather expensive, hence reduction
in their demand is significantly cost saving.

2
Many dryers have been designed, manufacture and tested for different application. There are
basically two classes of solar dryer which are the natural convection and the forced convections.
In the natural convection the circulation of air the air is through the buoyancy effects on air while
the forced convection air circulation is assisted with blowers or fans [1]. In these report we shall
commission a solar powered towel dryer which was designed and manufactured but not tested.
The solar dryer cabinet and solar collector was designed and manufactured by Jane Kamau of
NITA a master student at the University of Nairobi and Kabingu Kariuki of the Ministry of Energy
in Kenya respectively [5].

3
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
The dryer had been designed and fabricated. However, its performance and efficiency are not
known. Therefore this knowledge of the dryer’s performance and efficiency are required for
improvements. The efficiency, the moisture content in drying and the rates of drying of the dryer
are therefore to be determined.

4
1.3 OBJECTIVES
The objectives of this project is to commission a solar powered dryer. In general the objective can
be broken down to the following specific objectives:

a) Completing the dryer and collector repair for experimentation.


b) Experimentation to determine temperature, humidity, drying rate and efficiency of the
dryer.
c) To identify design and performance improvements measures.

5
CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 DRYING REVIEW
Drying in definition is the removal of moisture or water from a material a certain required levels.
Scientifically it is the reduction of moisture content to a certain percentage. Majorly it’s done
through the vaporizing of water from the material, where latent heat of vaporization is supplied to
the material. In drying operations there are two key process controlled factors used [6]

a) Heat transfer in the product to provide the latent heat of vaporization needed
b) Mass transfer of water or moisture from the material and finally out of it

The boiling of water will occur once the total pressure of air is equivalent to the vapour pressure.
At atmospheric pressure water will boil at 100℃. At temperatures above or below 100℃ it will
boil at different pressure.

2.1.1 HEAT NEEDED FOR VAPORIZATION


The amount of energy required to vaporize water at certain temperature will depend upon the
temperature. Latent heat of vaporization, is the amount of energy required to vaporize water in
liquid state. The amount of heat energy to vaporize water under given conditions is obtained from
the steam tables data according to its absolute pressure and temperature.
At lower pressures the Latent heats of vaporization are somewhat higher, as indicated in the Table
2.1. However in practice there are losses of heat that occur from the medium of heat transfer and
some heat changes occur to.

6
Table 2.1 Latent Heat of vaporization and saturation temperature for water
Absolute Latent heat of Saturation
pressure vaporization temperature
(kPa) (kJkg-1) (℃)
1 2485 7
2 2460 18
5 2424 33
10 2393 46
20 2358 60
50 2305 81
100 2258 99.6
101.35 2257 100
110 2251 102
120 2244 105
200 2202 120
500 2109 152

2.1.2 HEAT TRANSFER DURING DRYING


Drying rates is greatly influenced by how fast the latent heat of saturation to effect the vaporization
of water from the cloth or material to be dried. However, the rate of mass transfer also influence
the rate of drying. The three modes of heat transfer are Conduction, convection and radiation are
applicable during drying. The modes of heat transfer vary from one to another with one of the
modes predominating the others thus controlling the overall process. Heat Transfer rate in air
drying is given by:

𝑞 = ℎ𝑠 𝐴(𝑇𝑎 − 𝑇𝑠 ) (2.1)

Where

q = the rate of heat transfer in (J s-1),

hs = the coefficient of heat-transfer of the surface (J m-2 s-1 °C-1),

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A = the area over which flow of heat occur taking, (m2),

Ta = the temperature of air and

Ts = the temperature at the surface which undergoes drying, (°C).

The situation of heat transfer will vary as drying process continues. The layers of the material at
the surface will dry faster than the interior areas therefore heat will be conducted to the inner
surfaces. The conductivity of the material determines the heat transfer rates.

2.1.3 THE DRYER AND DRYING EFFICIENCIES


Efficiency is the ratio of the consumed energy to that of the minimum supplied energy. However,
numerous efficiencies can be obtained due to the complexity of the system in terms of the material
to be dried and source of energy. These efficiencies are calculated according to the process needed
for a given feature of the dryer. The performance of the dryer is well evaluated through Efficiency.
It’s through this that deductions can be made on improvement by comparison on other dryers.

For the drying process heat has to be directed to the material to remove water. The heat generated
provides the latent heat of evaporation although some heat is used in raising the temperature of the
material to be dried. So basically the efficiency of the dryer is the ratio of the latent heat of
evaporation to that supplied for drying.

In consideration of the heat balance in the dryer where the walls of the dryer is treat adiabatically
where there are no losses of heat to the surrounding. Therefore the drop in temperature in the dryer
corresponds to the useful heat in drying of the products and the supplied heat corresponds of the
rise of the air temperature in the heating unit of the dryer. Therefore the efficiency,𝜂 adiabatically
is defined by:

(𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑒 )
𝜂 = (2.2)
(𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑎 )

Where

Tc= the temperature of air entering the dryer,

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Te = the temperature of air exiting the dryer, and

Ta = the temperature of ambient air entering the heater.

The difference in the temperature between Tc and Te, is a key factor in evaluating the efficiency of
the dryer.

2.2 DRYING AND PSYCHROMETRY


The temperature and humidity of air determines its capacity to remove moisture form a product to
be dried. Psychrometry is defined as the study that relates air and the amount of water in it.
Humidity (Y) is the amount of the water or vapour in the air. The absolute humidity, is the ratio
of the mass of water vapour to the mass of the air in kg kg-1, which is generally termed Humidity.

Under certain conditions the amount of humidity is maximum and air is termed to be saturated at
these conditions. Therefore addition of more vapour is inhibited at these conditions of air. The
partial pressure of vapour at this condition of saturation is equal to the partial pressure of the air at
the same temperature.

The addition of the partial pressures of the water vapour and that of air give the total pressure of
the mixture. The partial pressure is as a consequence of the molecular concentration of the given
substance.

The relative humidity (RH) by definition is the ratio of the current partial pressure of water
vapour to the partial pressure of the saturated water vapour that the air can hold at the same
temperature.

𝑝
𝑅𝐻 = (2.3)
𝑝𝑠

And usually shown as a percentage

When the relative humidity of air reaches 100% the saturation levels of air would be attained. The
value of the temperature is obtained from the stem tables at a temperature called the dew point of
air at the given moisture content. Further cooling of this air below the dew point temperature
condensation will occur and air leaves as droplets or fog from air and that moisture retained in the
air

The absolute humidity Y is related to partial pressure of water vapour using the equation:

9
0.622 𝑝𝑤
𝑌 = (2.4)
(𝑃 – 𝑝𝑤 )

Where

P = the total pressure.

2.2.1 Psychrometric Charts


The figure 2.3 below shows a rough plots of the Psychrometric chart

Figure 2.1 Psychrometric Chart

The vertical axis on the right represents the absolute humidity where the horizontal axis below
represent the dry bulb temperature. The saturation line divides the chart to two phases where
moving towards the across the saturation line the water vapour is condensed to water. Any constant
line representing a constant dry bulb temperature drawn vertically on the chart is divided into
different percentages of relative humidity. This chart can be used for many calculations concerning
the drying and air conditioning applications.

10
2.3 EQUILIBRIUM MOISTURE CONTENT
The equilibrium vapour pressure that exist above a material being dried can also be determined the
amount of the water in the material. In a given condition of the vapour pressure in the air, the
material being dried will attain a water content that will be in equilibrium to that of the surrounding
atmosphere. In this condition no further exchange of water vapour will occur between the material
and its surrounding air.

2.4 AIR DRYING


The rate of drying of a material using air will depends on factors such as design of dryer, the
property of material and the condition of the air used for drying.

The moisture of water in a material is held in different bonding degrees. The water is bonded in
material from very strong chemical bonds to the weak adhesive force. In drying, the water that is
weakly bonded at the surface is expected to be removed at a faster rate. Therefore, the drying rate
is expected to be fast initially then the rate would decrease towards the end of drying. This is
because the remaining water in the material are strongly bonded to the material. In most material
the loosely bonded water is usually of a higher percentage. The drying rates of sand and minced
meat against time were compared as shown in the figure below Figure 2.2

Figure. 2.2 Drying rate of meat and minced meat against time.

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2.5 CLASSIFICATION OF DRYING SYSTEMS
The drying system are generally classified in regard to the operating temperature by either high
temperature dryer or low temperature dryers. However, the more common classification is based
on their sources of heat which puts them to electrical, fossil fuel and solar dryers. Strictly speaking
most of the high temperature dryers are either electrical or fossil fuel powered whereas the solar
energy powered are mostly low temperature dryers [7].

2.5.1. High temperature dryers


These dryer have their application where fast drying rate is needed especially in industrial
processes applications. Applied when minimal time is required for the drying applications. The
temperatures are so high that if the equilibrium moisture content is attained it could have serious
damage to the product. Therefore drying is made to the recommended moisture content and later
cooled. These dryers are categorized into batch and continuous. In batch drying the products are
dried one at a time and subsequently taken for storage hence called the batch in dryers. The
continuous dryers are where the products to be dried are fed into a column from top and move
downwards by gravity, in the process of descending heat is supplied to the products as they dry.
The sources of power for heating is mainly electrical or fossil fuel. Solar energy application in
these high temperature dryers are very few [7].

2.5.2. Low temperature dryers


In the temperature dryer the equilibrium moisture content of the material and the drying air is
achieved through ventilating the air use for drying. Thus, they do bear irregular input of heat.
These dryers allow bulk loading f products and therefore used for the storage of products for long
periods hence are commonly referred to as storage or bulk dryers. They therefore allow the input
of intermittent heat therefore making solar energy application in these dryers possible. A lot of
research on the low temperature solar dryer have been done [7].

2.6 SOLAR DRYERS


Many researches have made on solar dryer therefore there was need to classify them. Solar dryers
are classified according to their mode of heating and method through which solar heat is utilized.
Broadly they are two types of solar dryers which are [7]:

• Active solar-energy dryers (hybrid solar dryers); and

12
• Passive solar-energy dryers (natural-circulation solar dryers).

Each of the two classes are further subdivided into three sub categories according to the
arrangement in design. They are namely:

 Direct or integral type solar dryers;


 Indirect or distributed type solar dryers.
 Mixed mode solar dryers

Figure 2.3 Types of Solar dryers

In conclusion, a lot of research on solar dryers. The solar dryers were designed, fabricated and
tested for their functions. It was found that the average temperature attained were approximately
60℃ and below. Therefore, there was need for solar dryers which attain more temperature than
this [8].

13
CHAPTER 3

METHODOLOGY
This chapter entails the design formulation, specification and rehabilitation of the prototype dryer
setup. The components and processes involved for the dryer to run are described. Experimental
procedure used to obtain results are also discussed. For the dryer commissioning the following are
to be determined:

 No load temperatures and relative humidity of the dryer


 The relative humidity and temperature of the dryer when loaded
 The drying rate of the dryer and moisture content when loaded
 The thermal efficiency of the dryer

3.1 INFORMATION ABOUT THE DRYER


The energy required for drying is provided by heated air. Solar energy is concentrated in a steel
pipe which heats the air inside. The heated air then passes through the drying cabinet where
products are placed inside to be dried. The figure 3.1 shows the main components of the dryer,
consisting of the solar collector, the drying cabinet and drying line. The solar dryer component are
each discussed below

Figure 3.1 Components of the Dryer

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3.1.1 The Drying Cabinet:
The drying cabinet was built from a 3mm transparent thermoplastic which can withstand
atmospheric attacks. The frame structure support was made of steel which can firmly support the
cabinet. Three outlet vents were made on the upper end at the back of the cabinet to facilitate and
control the movement of the moist air through the dryer. Opening door of the drying chamber was
made at the front of the cabinet. The edges of the cabinet were lined with rubber so as to prevent
any air leakage.

For the purpose of commissioning we made one of the two doors of the cabinet closed
permanently. This was to prevent air mixing and leakage of the air inside the dryer with the ambient
air conditions when collecting the experimental data which required frequent opening and closing.

3.1.2 Drying line and rack:


The drying line are contained inside the drying chamber which were made of a 1cm metal rod. For
the rack it was constructed of a layer of wire mesh with a fairly open structure to allow drying air
to pass through the items.

3.1.3 The blower


This is an electric powered blower that blows air into the collector unit. It has a meter that varies
the speed at which air is blown through the system. So the speed of drying could be controlled by
varying the mass flow rates of air that passes through the system.

3.1.4 Ducting unit


This is made of a short rubber tube. It connects the collector to the drying cabinet. This pipe is
lagged to prevent losses of heat to the atmosphere through the pipe from the heated air. We lagged
using waste rags from the workshop store.

3.1.5 Collector:
The collector is of a parabolic trough with a one inch metal tube placed at the focal point of the
parabola. At the surface of the parabola is an ordinary iron sheet where an Aluminium foil is stuck
on it using con tar so as to illuminate rays from the sun towards the focal point of the parabola
trough. The open surface of the trough is covered by a transparent glass so as to retain heat within
the heating unit. The collector has a manual sun tracking unit that ensures the sunlight rays are
incident on to the collector surface for effective heating. The base of the collector is made of wood

15
cut in shape of a parabola so as to insulate heat from leaving through it. The collector is raised
from the ground by a metallic supports that are wheeled for easy movement of the collector.

Since the collector had been constructed sometime back it was so dusty and torn. Hence there was
need to replace the Aluminium foil so as to enhance heating effect of the collector. We carefully
removed the old foil and replaced with a new which had a higher reflectivity.

3.1.5.1 The orientation of the Solar Collector:


The parabolic solar collector is oriented in a way that it receives the maximum solar radiation
during the desired time of the day through a pinion and rack mechanism. The best stationary
orientation at 8:30 am in the morning is at an angle of about 65 o facing East. The angle changes
with the positioning of the sun till when the sun sets off in the evening.

Figure 3.2 Dryer Setup in Operation

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3.2 OPERATION OF THE DRYER
The dryer is an active system in which the circulation of air is blown by an electrical blower. The
blown air is heated by the sun‘s rays entering through the parabolic collector. The sun’s rays are
enhanced by the reflective surface in collector that reflects the incident sun rays toward the focal
point where absorber pipe is placed. The pipe absorbs the heat and simultaneously heating the air
inside. The greenhouse effect is also achieved within the collector therefore maintaining the heat
within the collector. This is achieved by covering the collector with a transparent glass that allows
rays through it and prevents the heated air from escaping from the collector. With the blower, the
hot air is pushed into the drying cabinet. After drying process, the moist air escapes through the
upper vent in the drying chamber. A fresh cooler air at ambient temperature enters through the
blower into the collector hence an air current is maintained. Where by the cooler air at a
temperature 𝑇𝑎 enters through the blower and moist air at a temperature 𝑇𝑒 leaves through the upper
vent of the dryer.

When the dryer is not loaded, the air enters the blower at a temperature 𝑇𝑎 and relative humidity
𝐻𝑎 and the air exiting the dryer at a temperature 𝑇𝑒 and relative humidity 𝐻𝑒 . Since 𝑇𝑒 > 𝑇𝑎 and
the dryer contains no item, 𝐻𝑎 > 𝐻𝑒 . Thus the exiting air has more capacity to pick up more
moisture in the dryer because of the difference between 𝐻𝑎 and 𝐻𝑒 . Therefore, the system works
to increase the affinity of air to pick moisture in the dryer.

3.2.1 Drying mechanism


In the drying process, heat is necessary to evaporate moisture from the material. The evaporated
moisture will be removed by the air flowing. There are two mechanisms involved in the drying
process:

1) The movement of moisture from the interior part of the material to the surface, and
2) The evaporation of moisture from the surface to the surrounding air [9].

The drying of a product is a combination of both heat and mass transfer process which depends
on external variables such as humidity, temperature and velocity of the air stream. It also depends
on internal variables which on parameters such as surface characteristics (smooth or rough
surface), physical structure (porosity, density, etc.), chemical composition (sugars, starches, etc.),
and shape and size of product.

17
3.3 BASIC THEORY (FORMULATIONS)
3.3.1 Energy Balance of the collector
The energy balance on the collector is obtained by equating the total heat gained to the total heat
lost by the solar collector [10]. Therefore,

𝐼𝐴𝑐 = 𝑄 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑 + 𝑄𝑐 + 𝑄 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑣 + 𝑄 𝑅 + 𝑄𝜌 , (3.1)

Where

𝐼 = rate of total radiation incident on the collector’s surface(𝑊𝑚−2 );

𝐴𝑐 = collector area (𝑚2 );

𝑄𝑐 = rate of useful energy collected by the air (𝑊);

𝑄𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑 = rate of conduction losses from the collector (𝑊);

𝑄𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑣 = rate of convective losses from the collector (𝑊);

𝑄𝑅 = rate of long wave re-radiation from the collector (𝑊);

𝑄𝜌 = rate of reflection losses from the collector (𝑊).

The three heat loss terms; 𝑄𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑 , 𝑄𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑣 and 𝑄𝑅 are usually combined into one-term (𝑄𝐿 ), i.e.

𝑄𝐿 =𝑄 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑 + 𝑄 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑣 + 𝑄 𝑅 . (3.2)

If 𝜏 is the transmittance of the top glazing and 𝐼𝑇 is the total solar radiation incident on the top
surface, therefore,

𝐼𝐴𝑐 = 𝜏𝐼𝑇 𝐴𝑐 . (3.3)

The reflected energy from the collector is given by the expression:

𝑄𝜌 = 𝜌𝜏𝐼𝑇 𝐴𝑐 , (3.4)

Where:

𝜌 = reflection coefficient of the collector. Substitution of Equations. (3.2), (3.3) and (3.4) in
Equation. (1) Yields:

18
𝜏𝐼𝑇 𝐴𝑐 = 𝑄𝑢 + 𝑄𝐿 + 𝜌𝜏𝐼𝑇 𝐴𝑐 , 𝑜𝑟

𝑄𝑢 = 𝜏𝐼𝑇 𝐴𝑐 (1 – 𝜌) – 𝑄𝐿 .

For an absorber (1 – ρ) = α and hence,

𝑄𝑢 = (𝛼𝜏)𝐼𝑇 𝐴𝑐 – 𝑄𝐿 , (3.5)

Where α is solar absorbance.

QL composed of different convection and radiation parts. It is presented in the following form [11]:

𝑄𝐿 = 𝑈𝐿 𝐴𝑐 (𝑇𝑐 – 𝑇𝑎 ), (3.6)

Where:

𝑈𝐿 = overall heat transfer coefficient of the absorber (𝑊𝑚−2 𝐾 −1 );

𝑇𝑐 = temperature of the collector‘s absorber (K);

𝑇𝑎 = ambient air temperature (K).

From Equations (3.5) and (3.6) the useful energy gained by the collector is expressed as:

𝑄𝑢 = 𝛼𝜏𝐼𝑇 𝐴𝑐 − 𝑈𝐿 𝐴𝑐 (𝑇𝑐 – 𝑇𝑎 ) (3.7)

Therefore, the energy per unit area (𝑞𝑢 ) of the collector is

𝑞𝑢 = 𝛼𝜏𝐼𝑇 − 𝑈𝐿 (𝑇𝑐 – 𝑇𝑎 ) (3.8)

If the heated air leaving the collector is at collector temperature, the heat gained by the air 𝑄𝑔 is:

𝑄𝑔 = 𝑚̇𝑐𝑝𝑎 (𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑎 ), (3.9)

Where:

𝑚̇= mass of air leaving the dryer per unit time (kgs-1);

𝑐𝑝𝑎 = Specific heat capacity of air (kJkg-1K-1);

19
The collector heat removal factor, 𝐹𝑅 is the quantity that relates the actual useful energy gained
of a collector.

𝑚̇𝑐𝑝𝑎 (𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑎 )
𝐹𝑅 = (3.10)
𝐴𝑐 [𝛼𝜏𝐼𝑇 − 𝑈𝐿 (𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑎 )]

Or

𝑄𝑔 = 𝐹𝑅 𝐴𝑐 [𝛼𝜏𝐼𝑇 − 𝑈𝐿 (𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑎 )] (3.11)

3.3.2 Energy Balance Equation for the Drying Process


The total energy required for drying a given quantity of mass can be estimated using the basic
energy balance equation for the evaporation of water [9] [12]:

𝑄𝑑 = 𝑚𝑤 𝐿𝑣 = 𝑚𝑎 𝑐𝑝𝑎 (𝑇𝑖 – 𝑇𝑒 ), (3.12)

Where:

𝐿𝑣 = latent heat (kJ kg-1)

𝑚𝑤 = mass of water evaporated from the food item (kg);

𝑚𝑎 = mass of drying air (kg);

𝑇𝑖 and 𝑇𝑒 = initial and final temperatures of the drying air respectively (K);

𝑐𝑝𝑎 = Specific heat of air at constant pressure (kJ kg-1K-1).

The mass of water evaporated is calculated from Eq. 3.13 below:

𝑚𝑖 (𝑋𝑖 − 𝑋𝑒 )
𝑚𝑤 = (3.13)
100 − 𝑋𝑒

Where:

𝑚𝑖 = initial mass of the substance to be dried (kg);

𝑋𝑒 = equilibrium moisture content (% dry basis);

20
𝑋𝑖 = initial moisture content (% dry basis).

Volume of air needed for drying

The total volume of air needed to remove the moisture is obtained from the equation below

𝑚𝑤 𝐿𝑣 𝑅𝑎 𝑇𝑎
𝑉𝑎 = (3.14)
𝑃𝑎 𝐶𝑝𝑎 (𝑇𝑖 − 𝑇𝑒 )

Where

𝑃𝑎 = The partial pressure of dry air

𝑅𝑎 = The specific gas constant of air

The volume flow rate of air is then obtained from the relation

𝑉𝑎
𝑣̇ = (3.15)
𝑡

3.4 PERFORMANCE PARAMETERS OF THE DRYER


3.4.1 Efficiency
The efficiency of the solar dryer was evaluated in terms of pick-up efficiency, collector efficiency
and drying efficiency as recommended by [13].

 Collector efficiency
Collector efficiency is the measure of how effective the energy absorbed in the solar collector is
transferred to the flowing air within the system [14]. This parameter was determined by assuming
steady state conditions using Equation 3.1 where the useful energy collected by the air is compared
to the energy into the collector [15]this gives:

𝐺𝑐𝑝𝑎 𝛥𝑇 𝐺𝑚̇𝑐𝑝 (𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑎 )


𝜂𝐶 = = (3.16)
𝐼 𝐼

G = mass flow rate of air per unit collector area.


cpa= specific heat of air evaluated at the average temperature in the solar collector.
Tc = temperature of air at the outlet of the collector.
Ta = temperature at the absorber inlet.

21
I = total solar energy incident upon the plane of the collector per unit time per unit area.

 Pick-up efficiency
Pick-up efficiency is practical evaluation of the amount of moisture evaporated from the product.
This parameter essentially measures the effectiveness of the heated air to absorb the evaporated
moisture. Thus a comparison is made between the actual absorbance of moisture to the capacity of
moisture absorbance by the heated air.

Equation below was used to evaluate the pick-up efficiency according to [14].

𝜔𝑒 − 𝜔𝑖 𝑚𝑤
𝜂𝑝𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑢𝑝 = = (3.17)
𝜔𝑎𝑠 − 𝜔𝑖 𝜌𝑉𝑡(𝜔𝑎𝑠 − 𝜔𝑖 )

The variables:

𝜔𝑒 = Absolute humidity of air leaving the drying chamber

𝜔𝑖 = Absolute humidity of air entering the drying chamber

𝜔𝑎𝑠 = Absolute humidity of the air of adiabatic saturation

𝑚𝑤 =Mass of water evaporated from the product,

𝜌 = Density of air evaluated at the average temperature of air within the dryer

𝑡 = Time between entry and exit of dryer

𝑉 = Volumetric air flow rate.

 The drying efficiency


The drying efficiency of a solar dryer is the measure of how efficient the heated air from the solar
collector input in drying a product [13].The latent heat from equation 3.12 is compared to the
useful heat gained from the collector shown in equation 3.9.This gives:

(𝑇𝑖 − 𝑇𝑒 )
𝜂𝑑𝑟𝑦𝑒𝑟 = (3.18)
(𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑎 )

Where
𝑇𝑖 =Temperature of air entering the dryer cabinet

22
𝑇𝑒 = Temperature of air exiting the dryer

𝑇𝑎 = Ambient temperature entering the collector

𝑇𝑐 =Temperature of air leaving the collector

3.4.2 Moisture content


This is a measure of the amount of water vapor within a material at any given time. The moisture
content of the products to be dried is determined by either the wet or the dry basis analysis as given
below [16]

 Weigh the specimen in the initial condition, record the initial mass, Mi
 Oven dry the specimen until it stops losing weight, weigh and record the mass, Md
 Calculate the Xc as
Oven dry basis

𝑀𝑖 − 𝑀𝑑
𝑋𝑐𝑑 = (3.19)
𝑀𝑑

Wet basis

𝑀𝑖 − 𝑀𝑑
𝑋𝑐𝑤 = (3.20)
𝑀𝑖

3.3.3 Drying Rate

The drying rate of clothes is determined using the formula [17]

∆𝑀
𝐷𝑅 = (3.21)
∆𝑡

Where

∆𝑀 = Difference between the initial mass of product to the final mass

∆𝑡 = Time interval of drying

Factors that alter the moisture content are high temperature, high air speed and low relative
humidity.

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3.5 APPARATUS USED
For commissioning of the solar dryer the following data were required;

 Temperature at different points of the dryer setup measured with thermocouple


 Relative humidity of the ambient and inside the dryer measured with the hygrometer
 Weight of the loaded material to be dried
 The mass flow rate of the air used for drying which was determined using the orifice
Below is a description of the apparatus used for obtaining the data for commissioning.

3.5.1 Thermocouple
The Thermocouple is by far the most commonly used type of all the temperature sensor types.
Thermocouples are popular due to its simplicity, ease of use and their speed of response to changes
in temperature, due mainly to their small size. Thermocouples also have the widest temperature
range of all the temperature sensors. We used the copper constantan thermocouple which could
measure from -200℃ to 350℃ before use we crimped one end to be placed where temperature is
to be measured.

3.5.2 Orifice
3.5.2.1 Construction of orifice
Orifice plates are the most common type of Δp meter and are basically a machined metal plate
with a hole, as shown in figure 3.3. The plate has a sharp upstream edge and usually a bevelled
edge downstream of the flow. To allow the differential pressure to be measured, a set of pressure
tapings are located upstream and downstream of the plate.

When fluid passes through the hole of an orifice plate the pressure drops suddenly. The flow
continues to contract and converges downstream of the plate with the point of maximum
convergence (or minimum area) called the vena contracta. The fluid then expands and re-attaches
to the pipe wall, and the velocity profile approaches that before the constriction. There is a
relatively large net pressure loss across the orifice plate which is not recovered; this should be
taken into account in choosing a meter as orifice plates are not suitable for applications where a
large pressure drop is undesirable.

24
Orifice plates should be checked regularly to ensure that the edge is sharp and that no
contamination is deposited on the front of the plate as a round edge or contamination will affect
the flow measurement. Orifice plates are very sensitive to the velocity profile of the flow – if the
velocity profile is asymmetrical or skewed this affects the flow measurement.

Figure. 3.3 Machined orifice plate

3.5.2.2 Calculating the Mass Flow Rate


The difference of height of water in the manometer is used in the calculation of the mass flow rate
of air. The formula in the equation below gives the mass flow rate of air.

𝑚̇ = 𝐶𝐴𝑡 𝜌𝑎 √2𝑔𝐻 (3.22)

For

𝜌𝑤
𝐻 = ∆ℎ ( − 1) (3.23)
𝜌𝑎

Where:

𝐶= the discharge coefficient

𝐴𝑡 = the throat area (restriction)

∆ℎ= the difference of height of the U-tube manometer

𝜌𝑤 and 𝜌𝑎 = density of water and air respectively.

25
3.5.2.3 Orifice Calibration
Since the discharge of the orifice was unknown there was need for calibration. This is done by
comparing it with an orifice with known discharge coefficient. This is done through blowing same
mass flow rate of air through them and comparing the changes of the manometric heights of each
of the orifice.

The orifice was first installed between two pipes of same diameter with pressure tapping tubes
welded on their sides. Installed orifice system was then connected to an air blowing system with
the orifice of known parameter connected to it as shown in the figure below. The air flow rate was
then varied by controlling the inlet of air into the fan. The change in the two manometers were
then recorded for each of the different flow rate.

The different points of the manometer were recorded and then the mass flow rate was calculated
using the results obtained for the known orifice parameters. This was then compared to that of the
results of the unknown manometer since the mass flow rate through the system was the same as
long as there were no leakages. Graphs were then to be plotted for easy reading of the mass flow
rate of the dryer.

Figure 3.4 Orifice Calibration

26
Figure 3.5 orifice calibration curve

3.6 THE EXPERIMENTAL SET-UP


The operation of the developed solar dryer was evaluated in Nairobi, during the months of
February and March of the year 2016. The system was installed on University of Nairobi
Department of Mechanical Engineering, adjacent to the thermodynamics laboratory. The local
weather conditions were expected to closely resemble those in the city of Nairobi. For the running
of the dryer each component was required to be aligned to perform its intended function so as the
dryer could be commissioned. Below is an explanation of how each component was installed.

3.6.1 Collector and fan setup.


The parabolic collector function was to heat the air for drying. The glazing surface was replaced
by a new one since the one on it was torn and dusty. At the focal point of the parabola a 1 inch
diameter pipe made of cast iron was placed. At the surface area of the collector was covered with
a clean transparent glass. The rack and pinion mechanism was well lubricated to ensure smooth
running of the sun tracking system. The solar collector was adjusted to facing the sun so as the
incident rays to hit perpendicularly at the focal point where pipe is placed. The fan’s air exit was
connected to an orifice metering to obtain mass flow rate of air. The fan was then connected to an
electric socket so as to power the blower. Two thermocouple were placed at the inlet and exit of
the collector. This was done by drilling two 4 mm diameter holes on the 2 inch pipe at the entry

27
and exit respectively. Thermocouple were place at a depth of 1 inch into the hole and stuck with
gun germ to prevent air leakage.

3.6.2 The drying cabinet and ducting system setup.


The drying cabinet was placed adjacent to the other end of the collector where the heated air exits.
A 20cm rubber pipe was used as the ducting system to connect the heated air to the drying cabinet.
Since the air from the collector was at high temperatures the pipe was well lagged with cotton rags
to prevent excessive losses of heat through its walls.

The walls of the drying cabinet was stuck with an opaque paper so as to prevent the interference
of the sun. The drying chamber houses two drying lines, the distance between them is 40 cm as
shown in Figure 1. Two lines of dimension (0.01m diameter and length of 0.6m) were simply cut
from a rod and placed uniformly/evenly at distances (0.4 m) apart, for placing of material to be
dried.

Figure 3.6 Drying line in the dryer

28
Three 4 mm holes for thermocouples were drilled at the vertical middle axis of the back of the
drying cabinet. The first hole was drilled directly above the air entry into the cabinet. The second
one drilled in between the upper and lower drying line whereas the last one was drilled at the air
exit.

The hygrometer inside the drying chamber was hanged in the upper line so as to measure the
relative humidity of the drying air.

3.6.3.7 Mass flow rate setting


The mass flow rate of the air was determined separately inside the workshop. Where mass flow
rate of each of the contact point of the blower speed in the knob was determined. The exit of the
blower was connected to the orifice set up shown in figure 3.7 below

Figure 3.7 Determining Mass Flow Rate of the Blower

29
3.7 EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
To investigate the thermal performance of the dryer, preliminary tests were conducted without
load and when loaded (cotton rags) in the cabinet. Figure 3.7 is a photograph of the solar dryer in
operation, situated on the site.

Figure 3.8 Dryer in Operation

3.7.1 Dryer without Load


This experiment was carried out to determine the temperature and relative humidity attained in the
dryer at constant mass flow rate (blower speed).Two experiments were performed on different
days. These set up experiments were carried out starting at 9:00am and ending at 4:00pm on each
day. Ambient temperature and relative humidity of the air were recorded after every 5 minutes.
Temperatures within the solar dryer were measured with thermocouples and recorded to a
temperature meter after every five minutes as recommended by [13]. Relative humidity inside the
dryer was recorded with the hygrometer.

30
Figure 3.9 Temperature Measurement

3.7.2 Loading the Dryer


Four clean cotton clothes rugs, were obtained from a workshop store and were cut and weighed
with pairs of equal masses and recorded. They were then briefly placed in a sink containing water
to wet them. The rags were then manually squeezed to remove the excess water in them. In this
tactile assessment, the change of weight of the equivalent weight of the rags were to be equalized
by slightly squeezing each manually and reweighing to ensure similar weight.

The total weight of each rug was then recorded prior to loading. Therefore the upper line had two
rags of same weight were placed adjacent to each other. Special care was given during loading to
avoid overlapping of clothes in an effort to achieve uniform drying of all pieces. Loading of the
drying cabinet was carried out at 11:00am and then weighed and recorded after every 15 minutes
till a constant weight is recorded close to that when the rags were dry

31
CHAPTER 4
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
This chapter entails results and analysis of experiments done to determine the performance
characteristics of the dryer. For the dryer commissioning the following results were obtained:

 Mass flow rate of air used for drying


 Without load relative humidity and temperatures of the dryer
 The temperature and relative humidity of the dryer when loaded
 The rate of drying of the dryer when loaded and moisture content
 The thermal efficiency of the dryer

4.1MASS FLOW RATE OF THE USED AIR


The drying process was performed at constant mass flow rate corresponding to 0.06858mH2O
height difference of water in U-tube manometer. From figure 3.5 of the orifice calibration curve.
This gives a mass flow rate of 0.0344 kg/s.
4.2 WITHOUT LOAD RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND TEMPERATURES
4.2.1 Temperature variation
Variation of the temperatures in the solar collector and the drying cabinet compared to the ambient
temperature was made. Temperatures, as recorded without product loaded in the cabinet, are
shown in Figure 4.1.

Figure. 4.1 temperature at various location in dryer system

32
At the collector exit the average temperature out of the collector was 100℃ which was 74℃ above
the ambient temperature for day. The average temperature of the air at the inlet of the dryer was
82℃ which was 56℃ above the ambient temperature of averagely 26℃. There was a difference of
18℃ which shows that some heat was lost from the air through the ducting system. This shows
that the ducting system was 82% efficient in insulating heat from being lost from the air. This was
achieved through the lagging system on the wall of the ducting system and also the shortened
length. The collector was also efficient in raising the temperature of the air by 74℃ above the
ambient temperature conditions. The middle of the cabinet had an average temperature of 57℃
which was 31℃ above the ambient temperature conditions. Whereas the air was exiting the cabinet
at an average temperature of 48℃. The temperature inside the drying cabinet of the dryer was high
enough for the drying application.

4.2.2 Relative Humidity Inside and Outside the Dryer


The relative humidity of the outside ambient conditions and those of the inside of the dryer were
measured and recorded. Figure 4.2 below shows the diurnal variation of the relative humidity of
the ambient air and drying chamber for the dryer when not loaded.

Figure 4.2 Relative Humidity of Dryer and Ambient

At the start of the experiment the relative humidity of the dryer and that of ambient conditions
were same at 86%. This is because the dryer hadn’t been warmed by the heated air from the

33
collector. As time progresses the relative humidity of the dryer fell below that of the ambient
condition. It therefore had a higher moisture picking capacity when the dryer is loaded. The both
relative humidity decreased with time from morning but towards the evening they begun ascending
as sun had started setting. The lowest relative humidity recorded was 14% and 30%, inside and
outside the dryer respectively at 15:05pm. Dryer reduced RH from 45% to 20% at 13:05. Drying
rate is faster at low RH and higher temperatures.

4.3 THE TEMPERATURE AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY OF LOADED DRYER


The dryer was loaded on both drying lines with two equal masses of 27 grams that were wetted
with water to a weight of 58 grams each. The variation of the relative and temperature were
measured and recorded. This was repeated for two days.

4.3.1 Temperature variations


The temperature variation of the dryer system was recorded when loaded as shown in the figure
4.3 below.

Figure 4.3 Temperature variation at different locations in dryer system

Temperature variation is discussed with reference to the results of day one of drying of loaded
cabinet. The temperature variation in the dryer and collector varied according uniformly at
different time during drying for the day. The temperatures of the exit of the dryer of average of
47℃ and of that between the two lines average of 56℃ which was 10℃ above that of the exit
temperature. This is an indication that during the drying process the heated air did not experience

34
resistance before reaching the upper line which is almost at the dryer air exit. This is attributed to
the positioning of the lower line which was slightly in front of the incoming heated air which was
directed upwards by an L-shaped pipe. The temperature across the blower from the environment
to the collector were slightly different. The collector inlet was slightly higher at average of 37℃
where that of the ambient condition at average of 29.5℃. This is an indication that some of the
heat is attributed to the running of the blower. For the case of the loaded dryer the temperatures
were slightly lower compared with the unloaded dryer. This was due to the heat energy absorbed
by the cotton rag being dried.

The temperature in the exhaust was reduced by loading product into the cabinet which was at an
average of 46℃ whereas for the unloaded dryer was at 50℃. This reduction was due to the
absorption of the heat energy by the materials being dried. Generally the difference in averages
of temperature between the dryer inlet and exit of drying cabinet were 22℃ for loaded and 18℃
for the unloaded cloudy. Therefore, this indicates that during drying the heat was utilized by the
cloth to be dried.

4.3.2 Relative Humidity For Loaded Dryer And Ambient.


The relative humidity of the ambient condition and that of the dryer was measured, recorded and
a graph was plotted against time during drying as shown in figure 4.4.

Figure 4.4 Relative Humidity during Drying

35
The relative humidity of the dryer at the start of was lower than that of the ambient conditions.
The general trend is that the relative humidity for both the ambient conditions and that dryer were
decreasing with time. However, the relative humidity of the dryer was always lower than that of
the ambient. The amount of moisture removed could be obtained using the data of relative humidity
with that of the temperature.

4.4 THE RATE OF DRYING AND MOISTURE CONTENT OF DRYER


The weights of the wetted rugs were measure after every 15 minutes of drying and recorded. The
results obtained was used to calculate the drying rate and the moisture content using the wet
analysis.

4.4.1 The Rate of Drying of Cotton Rugs


The rate of drying for the loaded mass of 58 grams was calculated using equation 20 from the
methodology sectioned. The rate was recorded as shown in the table below and the values plotted
against the time for drying. The rate of drying was calculated using equation 3.21 and the units of
measured values were grams per minute (𝑔/min).

Figure 4.5 Rate of Rug Drying


From the results of the drying rate against time for the day. The general trend of the drying rate
shows that at the start the drying rate was increasing with time till a certain point then started
decreasing till the equilibrium moisture content was attained. However, the drying rate fluctuated
with time as shown in the results of figure 4.5. This is attributed to the irregular nature of the sun

36
radiation which kept on fluctuating during the time of drying. From the result of drying rate of
figure 4.5 the average was 0.4425g/minute.

4.4.2 Moisture content of drying clothes (wet basis analysis)


Moisture content for drying 27 grams dry rags of clothes wetted with water to a weight of 58 grams
each was determined using the equation 3.20 from the previous chapter. The values obtained for
moisture content was then plotted against time for drying as indicated in figure 4.6 below.

Figure 4.6 Moisture Content of Drying Rugs


From the beginning of drying the initial moisture content was 66% (wb) and that of the equilibrium
was 4% (wb). The moisture content of the rug was decreasing with time as shown from figure 4.6.

4.5 SOLAR DRYER CALCULATIONS


All the calculation are done for the loaded dryer from time of loading to the time of drying. The
parameters used in the engineering calculations are shown in Table 4.1. With the calculations
corresponding to the applied methodology as discussed earlier in this report.
Table 4.1 parameters for calculations
Parameter Value
𝑚̇ 0.0344 Kgs-1
𝑐𝑝 1005 Jkg-1K-1
𝐿𝑣 2257 kJkg-1
𝑅𝑎 287 Jkg-1K-1
𝑃𝑎 0.838457 bar

37
𝜌 1.225Kgm-3

4.5.1 Heat gain by air from collector


The heat gained by the air from the collector is calculated using equation 3.9

𝑄𝑔 = 𝑚̇𝑐𝑝 (𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑎 ) (3.9)

Sample calculation for 11:30am is:

𝑇𝑐 = 90℃, 𝑇𝑎 = 29℃

∴ 𝑄𝑔 /𝑠 = 1005 × 0.0344 × (90 − 29)

= 2108.892 𝐽𝑠 −1

The curve of collector energy in figure 4.7 shows the energy gained per second by the air at
different time of during the drying process.

Table 4.2 Results for Heat Energy Gained by Air

TIME Tc(℃) Ta(℃) Qg(𝐽𝑠-1)


11:00 63 27 1244.592
11:10 69 28 1417.452
11:20 96 29 2316.324
11:30 90 29 2108.892
11:40 102 30 2489.184
11:50 100 30 2420.04
12:00 95 30 2247.18
12:10 107 31 2627.472
12:20 86 29 1970.604
12:30 77 31 1590.312
12:40 60 29 1071.732
12:45 58 28 1037.16

38
Figure 4.7 Power Produced and Consumed in the Dryer System

The average energy per second gained by air is 1878.412 Js-1 with the maximum energy gained by
air being 2627 Js-1 at 12:10pm. From the data obtained it shows that the power of the collector
depends on the solar radiation and cloud condition of the day. The trend of the energy gained by
air corresponds to the results obtained from the temperature variation graph of figure 4.3. The
power produced by the collector corresponds to the convectional electric dryers which consumes
about 2500 Js-1 power [18].

4.5.2 Energy Balance Equation for the Drying Process


The energy consumed per second during drying was calculated using the right hand side of
equation 3.12 shown below

𝑄𝑑 = 𝑚𝑤 𝐿𝑣 = 𝑚𝑎 𝑐𝑝 (𝑇𝑖 – 𝑇𝑒 ) (3.12)

Sample calculation for 11:30am is:

𝑇𝑖 = 76℃, 𝑇𝑒 = 46℃

∴ 𝑄𝑑 /𝑠 = 1005 × 0.0344 × (76 − 46)

= 1037.16 𝐽𝑠 −1

39
The rest of power consumed was calculated and a graph was plotted against time as shown in lower
curve of figure 4.7. The average power consumed by the dryer from the collector was 751.941 W.
the power consumed varies according to the power produced from the collector as shown in figure
4.7. From the results a lot of energy was consumed during the beginning as shown in the wide gap
between energy consumed and that produced due to high losses experienced in the dryer system.
Such losses occurred at the walls of the ducting system and that of the dryer wall. After sometime
the walls obtained an equilibrium temperature with that of heated air hence no further losses.

4.5.3 Volume of air needed for drying


The total volume of air needed to remove the moisture from the 58 grams of wet rag is obtained
from the equation below

𝑚𝑤 𝐿𝑣 𝑅𝑎 𝑇𝑎
𝑉𝑎 = (3.14)
𝑃𝑎 𝐶𝑝𝑎 (𝑇𝑖 − 𝑇𝑒 )

𝑚𝑤 𝐿𝑣
𝑚𝑎 =
𝐶𝑝𝑎 (𝑇𝑖 − 𝑇𝑒 )

𝑚𝑎 𝑅𝑎 𝑇𝑎
𝑉𝑎 =
𝑃𝑎

𝑚̇𝑎 𝑅𝑎 𝑇𝑎
𝑉𝑎̇ =
𝑃𝑎

0.0344 × 287 × 302.25


=
0.838457 × 105

= 0.0356 𝑚3 𝑠 −1

The mass of water evaporated is calculated from Eq. 14:

𝑚𝑖 (𝑋𝑖 − 𝑋𝑒 )
𝑚𝑤 = (3.14)
100 − 𝑋𝑒

58(0.66 − 0.04)
=
1 − 0.04

40
= 37.4583 𝑔

4.6 PERFORMANCE PARAMETERS OF THE DRYER


4.6.1 Efficiency
The efficiency of the solar dryer was evaluated in terms of pick-up efficiency and drying efficiency
as recommended by [13].

Pick-up efficiency
Equation below was used to evaluate the pick-up efficiency according to [14].

At 11: 00 𝑎𝑚; 𝑅𝐻 = 28%; 𝑇𝑑 = 52℃; 𝜔𝑖 = 0.015

At 12: 30𝑝𝑚; 𝑅𝐻 = 15%; 𝑇𝑑 = 52℃; 𝜔𝑒 = 0.028

For 𝑇𝑑 = 52℃; 𝜔𝑎𝑠 = 0.091

𝜔𝑒 − 𝜔𝑖
𝜂𝑝𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑢𝑝 = (3.16)
𝜔𝑎𝑠 − 𝜔𝑖

0.028 − 0.015
=
0.091 − 0.015

= 0.171

The drying efficiency


The drying efficiency was calculated using equation 17 below from the previous chapter. The
values were plotted against time for drying for the two days. The results is as shown in figure 4.11
and 4.12 below.

(𝑇𝑖 − 𝑇𝑒 )
𝜂𝑑𝑟𝑦𝑒𝑟 = (17)
(𝑇𝑐 − 𝑇𝑎 )

Sample calculation at 11:30 am

76 − 46
𝜂𝑑𝑟𝑦𝑒𝑟 =
90 − 29

= 0.491

41
Figure 4.11 drying efficiency against time for drying for day 1
The average drying efficiency was found to be 0.39. The maximum efficiency was at 11:30am
which was 0.49 and the minimum occurred 11:10am having 0.22. From the curve of figure 4.11
the efficiency of the dryer was low at the beginning and increased later during drying as shown
with the trend line. This could be attributed to the fact the irregular nature of the sun radiation.
This efficiency of the dryer is almost equal to those of that have been researched before having
efficiency of 35% [8].

42
CHAPTER 5

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION


5.1 CONCLUSION
The experiment was performed at a mass flow rate of 0.0344kgs -1. The volume flow rate of air
needed for drying 58 grams of wetted rag to equilibrium moisture content of 4% was 0.0356 m3s-
1
. From the evaluation of temperature of the dryer without load the average temperature of the
dryer was found to be 79.3℃. The dryer demonstrated the ability to raise the temperature and lower
the relative humidity from that of the ambient conditions. From the experiment performed in
drying 58grams of wetted rugs, the dryer was able to reduce the moisture content from 66% to
moisture content of 4%. The rate of drying a rag in the dryer was found to be 0.4425g/minute. The
drying and pickup efficiency of the dryer were 39% and 17% respectively.

5.2 RECOMMENDATIONS
The solar dryer could be installed in building roof tops in urban areas so as to minimize on the
areas available for the installation of the dryer and also the dryer is well exposed to the radiation
from the sun hence would function effectively.

To increase the efficiency of the solar dryer the material used for the absorber pipe should be
studied and choose the material with the greatest absorptive power and is cheaply available. Also
efficiency could be increased through proper lagging of the ducting system that connects the
collector to dryer cabinet.

Air circulation in the dryer can be increased by the use of cyclones or funs installed at the exit.
Moist air is sucked out of the dryer more efficiently giving room for hot and less humid air into
the dryer thus increasing the rate of drying.

The drying cabinet could be designed in the shape of a converging nozzle so as to increase air
velocity inside the dryer. This is achieved by reducing the area of cross section towards the top of
the dryer. This creates pressure gradient between the top and the bottom thus assisting in
circulation of air inside the dryer.

The size of the dryer in terms of its height should be reduced. The height of the dryer should begin
just below the air entry point into the drying cabinet so as to save on the material and also increase
the efficiency of the dryer.

43
Automation of the sun tracking device can also increase the effectiveness of the solar collector and
hence the dryer will acquire higher heat energy for drying.

With the benefits of the application of renewable energy sources has to the environment, the
ministry of energy should do extensive research on the application of solar dryer for industrial use
so as the country be awarded the International Environment Certification (ISO 14001).
Environmentally the emission of the greenhouse gases such as CO2 is also minimized with the
application of the solar energy as a substitute to the fossil fuels.

Due to the irregular nature of the energy from the sun the application of the solar air heater should
backed up with the convectional sources of energy such as electrical energy and fossil fuels and
an automation system installed for switching the applications from one source to the other
depending on the availability of the solar energy.

44
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