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An Origami-Inspired Design of a Thermal Mixing Element Within a Concentrated Solar Power System

[+] Author Affiliations
Tyler T. Hamer, Lei Zhou, David L. Trumper, Alexander H. Slocum

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Nicolas Calvet

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Paper No. DETC2017-68360, pp. V05BT08A061; 10 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5B: 41st Mechanisms and Robotics Conference
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5818-9
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


A Concentrated Solar Power on Demand (CSPonD) system heats a tank of molten salt with sunlight, storing the sun’s energy thermally and generating electricity when needed using a heat exchanger. To prevent the heated salt from forming thermal gradients (reducing the heat exchanger’s efficiency) or overheating (and becoming corrosive), a thermal mixing element mixes the heated salt both axially and radially. Since the mixing element can only move axially within the tank, it contains internal, radial channels to induce radial flow of the salt. These channels are constructed from tabbed wall-components, whose tabs seat into and extend past slots in the top- and bottom-plates of the mixing element. The top- and bottom-plates are constructed from multiple panels with overlapping slots, allowing the panels to form the plates when the tabs are inserted. This interlocking design allows majority of the mixing element to be rapidly manufactured at a low cost from sheet metal and simplifies transportation. In situ, the assembled components fasten together by bending the over-extending tabs, minimizing the number of fasteners needed.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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