Solar power tower plants with Bimetallic receiver tubes: A thermomechanical study of two- and three-layer composite tubes configurations Articles uri icon

published in

publication date

  • September 2023

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 19


  • 129170


  • 283

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0360-5442

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-6785


  • The present study numerically investigated the use of bimetallic tubes for concentrating solar energy applications. Specifically, a billboard receiver employing supercritical carbon dioxide as the heat transfer fluid is considered, with tubes made of stainless steel 316 and GRCop-84. Two- and three-layer tube configurations are compared, exploring the impact of more thermally conductive layer thickness and placement on temperature and stress fields. The findings demonstrate that the use of bimetallic tubes can effectively reduce temperature and stress in the receiver tubes. In light of the results, it can be concluded that the higher thermal conductivity of GRCop-84 leads to a more uniform temperature distribution, resulting in lower temperature peaks on the outer tube surface, and reduced maximum stresses. Furthermore, it has been found that the incident heat flux necessary to achieve the same temperature increment of inside the panel is 1.7% lower in a two-layer tube configuration where GRCop-84 is placed in the outer layer. Besides, the stress in the 316 layer can be reduced up to 53.2% with the cited configuration. Nevertheless, it is observed that it is more beneficial to tube performance to place the more conductive layer inside, since it reduces stress in the GRCop-84 layer, and its compressive stress and corrosion-resistant properties help to avoid the risk of stress-corrosion-cracking. In a three-layer composite tube configuration, placing the more thermally conductive GRCop-84 layer close to the outer tube wall decreases the maximum temperature while increasing stress. The opposite effect is achieved by placing the more conductive layer closer to the inner tube wall. Overall, the results demonstrate the potential benefits of using bimetallic tubes for solar energy applications, when the layers have similar thicknesses, since their use can enhance the thermomechanical performance of conventional tubes made with one layer of 316 stainless steel. This fact has important implications for the design of efficient and reliable solar thermal systems.


  • Mechanical Engineering


  • solar power tower plant; central tubular receiver; non-uniform heating; composite tubes; numerical modeling; thermomechanical analysis