Abstract

Phase change material heat exchangers (PCMHX) have animportant role in integrating renewable energy systems. PCMHX can offer high storage density at various temperatures of interest and can be used for grid load shifting purposes. Numerical models enable engineers to estimate PCMHX performance for different design parameters and operating conditions. Modeling phase change phenomena is challenging due to the complex time-dependent nature of the process. The accuracy of models is highly sensitive to PCM thermo-physical properties. Thermal expansion coefficient (β), viscosity (μ) and melting temperature range (MR) of a PCM are important properties, especially when natural convection is not negligible. In PCMHX modeling, using less than accurate values for these properties can have significant impact on the simulation outcomes. These propertiesand discussions thereof are not readily available in the literature. This paper presents a brief review of the literature and a numerical study investigating the model sensitivity to the above-mentioned properties for PCMHX with and without fins. CFD is used to evaluate the charging (melting) phenomena. The study quantifies the impact of uncertainty in these properties on the melting rate and temperature profile. Constant wall temperature was consideredas heat source with no heat loss to ambient. The results show that β and μ has significant effect on the melting rate andevolution of the melting front. For a non-finned domain when comparing results for different published values of β and μ, the deviation in melting time can be up to 12.9% and 57.6% respectively. For high wall temperatures, change in melting range did not impact melting time. But when the wall temperature is reduced, up to 9.8% deviation in melting time is observed.

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