One way of storing thermal energy is through the use of latent heat energy storage systems. One such system, composed of a cylindrical container filled with paraffin wax, through which a copper pipe carrying hot water is inserted, is presented in this paper. It is shown that the physical processes encountered in the flow of water, the heat transfer by conduction and convection, and the phase change behavior of the phase change material can be modeled numerically using the finite element method. Only charging (melting) is treated in this paper. The appearance and the behavior of the melting front can be simulated by modifying the specific heat of the PCM to account for the increased amount of energy, in the form of latent heat of fusion, needed to melt the PCM over its melting temperature range. The effects of adding fins to the system are also studied, as well as the effects of the water inlet velocity.

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