Stress analysis of spherically curved rectangular and triangular solar panels
Many of the first mirror panels manufactured and installed on the 65-foot diameter FMDF test facility in Crosbyton, Texas have cracked glass surfaces. It is believed that the majority of the damage was caused by improper handling and the residual and thermal stresses in the panel. Since the cost of the solar panels is a considerable part of the total cost of the solar bowl, the analysis and design of these panels is crucial to the cost efficient design of the solar bowl. Various shapes of the solar panels are proposed to form the hemispherical solar bowl. Scaling-up of the reflector bowl from 65 feet to as much as 200 feet diameter is being considered by researchers. As such the main objective of this research is to develop a technique to analyze the residual stresses in the solar panels.