An Assessment of Critical Loadings and Member sizing for the Design of Structural Support for a Solar Tracking Bi-Focal Collector System

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Author(s) Abdulrahim A. T. | Onundi, L. O. | Diso, I. S.
Pages 291-301
Volume 2
Issue 4
Date April, 2013
Keywords Solar collectors, Support Structure, Static, Dynamic, Loadings

The study focuses on the assessment of critical loadings and member sizing for the design of structural support for a solar tracking bi-focal collector system. Support structure that is capable of holding the solar collectors under various operating conditions comprises of a mild steel rotating shaft for supporting the two number solar collectors, support frame that permits azimuth rotation and collective rotation of the solar collectors. Procedure recommended by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) was followed in this study, while RISA 3D software was used for the analysis of the structural system at the serviceability limit state because of the dynamic nature of some of the acting forces. A finite element solution was derived through the assumption of a triangular element stiffness matrix for a co-planner (two dimensional) stress formulation as a model. A single 25 x 25 x 3mm (1.2kg/m) equal angle iron proved adequate and satisfactory for all the members except the shaft which is CHS48.3x5mm (5.34kg/m). No excessive stress, deformation or any other related dynamic sensitive considerations proved to have adverse influence on the structural stability, durability, reliability or quality assurance capabilities of the solar tracking system. Therefore, a procedure for the preliminary sizing of members and application of finite element method for the design and stability of structural support for a solar tracking bi-focal collector system have been achieved and same is recommended for larger magnitudes.

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