In the present study, a numerical model was developed for laminar flow in a microchannel with a suspension of microsized phase change material (PCM) particles. In the model, the carrier fluid and the particles are simultaneously present, and the mass, momentum, and energy equations are solved for both the fluid and particles. The particles are injected into the fluid at the inlet at a temperature equal to the temperature of the carrier fluid. A constant heat flux is applied at the bottom wall. The temperature distribution and pressure drop in the microchannel flow were predicted for lauric acid microparticles in water with volume fractions ranging from 0 to 8%. The particles show heat transfer enhancements by decreasing the temperature distribution in the working fluid by 39% in a 1 mm long channel. Meanwhile, particle blockage in the flow passage was found to have a negligible effect on pressure drop in the range of volume fractions studied. This work is a first step towards providing insight into increasing heat transfer rates with phase change-based microparticles for applications in microchannel cooling and solar thermal systems.

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