Thermal energy storages are becoming important due to their significance in energy conservation as well as for the uninterrupted supply of thermal energy from renewable energy sources. The latent heat-based thermal energy storage systems utilizing phase change material (PCM) are gaining much attention due to some inherent advantages compared to sensible heat-based storage systems. However, the heat transfer process associated with the phase change in a PCM is complex and not well understood. In the present study, the melting process in a PCM-based thermal storage is experimentally studied. Two different configurations of the heat source were considered; horizontal and U-tube heat sources. The results show that the heat source shape has a significant influence on the solid to liquid phase change process (melting). The results also show that for the horizontal heat source configuration, the solid-liquid interface has a wavy profile, which is attributed to the convective cells in the melted domain of the PCM. These convective cells also influence the heat transfer coefficient, which decreased with an increase in the melted fraction. In U-tube configuration, the heat is non-uniformly transferred to the PCM domain.

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