Thermal energy storage (TES) systems using phase change materials (PCMs) are used in various engineering applications. TES is a means by which heat is ‘hold’ for a certain period of time for use at a later time. We report an experimental study which was conducted to investigate the melting process and associated heat transfer in a rectangular chamber with a cylindrical u-shaped heat source imbedded inside the PCM. The results showed that geometry and orientation of the heat source immensely influenced the heat transfer behavior during solid-liquid phase transition. The heat transfer behavior, interface movement and the heat transfer coefficients differed both axially and vertically inside the chamber as well as with the melting rate. The local convective heat transfer coefficient, hlocal in the inner region, enclosed by the U-tube, was observed to increase at a higher rate than the outer region. Stronger convective flow and a lower viscosity owing to higher temperature in the inner region is believed to have caused faster melting in this region. The melting rate was also found comparatively higher until approximately two-third of the PCM volume was melted before the rate declined.

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