Date of Award

Fall 12-2019

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering


Justin Lapp

Second Committee Member

Masoud Rais-Rohani

Third Committee Member

Shelia Edalatpour


A High Flux Solar Simulator (HFSS) provides artificial solar radiation using an array of high- intensity discharge lamps attached to ellipsoidal reflectors to focus their light to a point where high temperatures can be achieved. High flux solar simulators are used for solar thermal and thermochemical research. They provide high-flux radiation used for controlled lab-scaled experimentation as an alternative to concentrated solar power systems which depends on sunlight, which is intermittent. In this project, a HFSS model is developed consisting of ten 2.5 KW metal halide lamps mounted in a truncated ellipsoidal reflector with variable flux profile capability. The novel variability in flux profile is useful in achieving different ranges of temperatures with different flux profile configurations that can be used for a wide range of solar thermal, thermochemical, and photovoltaic research applications. The variation in the flux profile of the solar simulator model is achieved by changing the angle of the lamp module with respect to the target, changing the distance between the arc of the bulb and the focal point of the reflector and by varying the power of the lamps. Ray-tracing simulation software, Trace-Pro is used to analyze the variation in the flux profile with respect to the change in parameters of the solar simulator, and a relationship is determined by fitting various curve fit types, and a piecewise worked the best. This relationship is used to define the optimization model for obtaining the optimal configuration of the HFSS model using a trust-region reflective optimization method. The objective of the optimization model is to reduce the sum of the squared difference between the user-defined flux profile and the flux profile of the solar simulator model obtained by varying its parameters. Several user-defined flux profile configurations are tested. The optimization model was able to approximate the user-defined flux profile within the achievable limits of the flux profile of the solar simulator. Thus, reducing the effort in manually adjusting the parameters of the high flux solar simulator.

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