This research is an experimental investigation of a double-pipe heat storage unit. The inner pipe of the unit, through which a heat-transfer fluid (HTF) is supplied, is made of aluminum and has an outer helix-like fin. The annular space between the pipes is filled with a phase change material (PCM). Actually, this research presents a novel design of the heat storage unit, which, unlike traditional designs with e.g. radial (circumferential) or longitudinal fins, has a single fin which does not divide the shell volume into separated cells. Moreover, this research focuses on close-contact melting (CCM), a process which is characterized by detachment of the solid bulk from the unit envelope and its sinking towards the hot fin surface. In previous investigations, performed in our laboratory, this effect has been achieved in units with above-mentioned traditional fin configurations. It was demonstrated that CCM reduces the overall melting time, i.e. the rate of unit charging, significantly as compared with commonly encountered melting in which the fins serve just to enlarge the heat transfer area. The experimental system employed in this study includes a vertically-oriented double-pipe heat storage unit and thermostatic baths capable of providing hot or cold HTF. The unit has a transparent Perspex shell which makes visualization possible. The entire unit may be placed in a heated water tank with transparent walls. In the latter case, close-contact melting is achieved by detaching the solid phase from the envelope and thus allowing its gravity-induced motion. Regular melting is compared to CCM and advantages of the latter are demonstrated. Also demonstrated are the advantages of the novel fin, including in solidification. Possible mathematical and numerical modeling of the melting processes is discussed.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.