WIT Press

Thermal performance investigation of a mini natural circulation loop for solar PV panel or electronic cooling simulated by lattice Boltzmann method


Free (open access)


Volume 7 (2022), Issue 1



Page Range

1 - 12

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Johan Augusto Bocanegra, Annalisa Marchitto & Mario Misale


The natural circulation loop (NCL) consists of a thermal-hydraulic system that convoys thermal energy from a heat source to a heat sink without a pump. Applications of those loops can be found in solar energy, geothermal, nuclear reactors, and electronic cooling. The lattice Boltzmann method is a numerical method that can simulate thermal-fluid dynamics, using a mesoscopic approach based on the Boltzmann equation for the density function. A square NCL model with fixed temperatures at the heater and heat sink sections was developed in a bi-dimensional lattice with double distribution dynamics, one distribution for the hydrodynamic field and the other for the thermal field. The different cooler–heater configurations (vertical or horizontal) were investigated. We found that by positioning the source or sink vertically, the flow direction can be controlled. In contrast, in a loop with symmetric horizontal heater - horizontal cooler configuration where both fluid directions are equally probable. The effectiveness of the loop was studied by calculating the heat sink temperature gradient. The lower value was obtained for the horizontal heater horizontal cooler orientation (0.71) and the higher value for the vertical heater vertical cooler configuration with an increment of 34%; simultaneously, the flow rate (Reynolds number) was reduced by 47%.


end heat exchanger, heater orientation, heat sink orientation, LBM, thermosyphon.