Device for Measuring Forces and Torques in Flexible Connection Joints for Parabolic Trough Collector




Solar Thermal Energy, Parabolic Troughs, Rotation and Expansion Performing Assemblies, Flexible Hose, Swivel Joint, Forces, Torques


Measurement of forces and torques in flexible connection joints for parabolic trough collectors (PTC) during their life time is important to prevent damage or breakage of these elements. Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA) has developed and patented a device for measuring these forces and torques in flexible connection joints installed in solar power plants. The device consists of three dynamometers and one torque transducer coupled to a rotation assembly that can be externally coupled to a ball joint installed in interconnections of parabolic-troughs, with no interference in the hydraulic circuit. To calibrate the device and perform initial performance checks at lab scale, a test bench was prepared for applying forces and torques on a set-up composed of a multicomponent sensor connected in series to a standard rotary ball joint and measuring simultaneously the forces and torques by mean of the designed device. Calibration tests have been performed applying a range of forces and torques to the multicomponent sensor-ball joint at different rotation positions. Multicomponent sensor and developed device measurements have been compared to obtain a calibration matrix for the last one. Results show good performance of the device once calibrated, but that will be improved measuring angular deviations from reference axes position of each of the dynamometers that compose the device during the operation, to increase the accuracy of the measurements.


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H. Price and D. Kearney, “Reducing the Cost of Energy from Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants” (Tech. Report NREL/CP-550-33208, NREL, 2003), Golden, Colorado.

R. López-Martín, L. Valenzuela, Spanish patent ES 2788802B2 (2021).

GUM, Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement. Working group con-vened by experts of: Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), 1995.




How to Cite

López-Martín, R. A., Valenzuela, L., & Amador-Cortés, C. M. (2024). Device for Measuring Forces and Torques in Flexible Connection Joints for Parabolic Trough Collector. SolarPACES Conference Proceedings, 1.

Conference Proceedings Volume


Operations, Maintenance, and Component Reliability

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