In this work, a macroscale model for melting phase change of metal foam/paraffin composite phase change material (MFPC) is developed by employing the enthalpy-porosity method and volume averaging technique. Both cases of varied and unvaried paraffin density during phase change are investigated in the model, and diffusion dominated interstitial heat exchange between paraffin and metal foam is considered along with the convection dominated interstitial heat transfer. The visualization experiments on melting phase change of copper foam/paraffin composite are carried out to validate the developed phase change model. It is found that with consideration of varied density of paraffin, the developed model can effectively solve the real melting problem of MFPC when metal foam is initially filled with solid paraffin. If the Boussinesq approximation is employed (i.e., unvaried paraffin density is considered during phase change), the model is more appropriate for the phase change problem on condition that metal foam can just be filled with liquid paraffin in the end of the melting process. Hence according to different treatments of paraffin density, the application of the phase change model needs to consider the influence of real paraffin filling condition of MFPC. The phase change model considering diffusion dominated interstitial heat transfer between stationary paraffin and metal foam can more accurately capture the solid-liquid phase interface positions as compared with the model only considering the convection dominated interstitial heat transfer. The present study can provide guidance for physically more reasonable simulation of the practical phase change problem of MFPC.

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