Heat pipes are being developed to transfer solar energy from the focal point of a parabolic dish concentrator to the working fluid of Stirling engines. With these receivers, concentrated solar energy that is absorbed on the concave surface of a dome is removed by the evaporation of liquid sodium on the convex side of the dome. Vaporized sodium then condenses on an engine’s heater tubes and transfers energy to the working fluid of the engine. The condensed sodium returns to the absorber surface where it is redistributed across the dome by the capillary action of a wick. Issues concerning the flow of sodium in a heat-pipe solar receiver are investigated in this paper. A comparison is made between various wick options, and general issues concerning the design of heat-pipe receivers are also discussed.

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