During melting of phase change materials (PCM) encapsulated in a container, the solid PCM sinks to the bottom or floats to the top of the container according to the gravitational force and buoyancy resulting from the difference between solid and liquid densities. Compared with the solidification process, the melting process has a quite different behavior. Although the heat transfer characteristics of melting processes in various typical kinds of containers have been studied, the general model for analyzing the thermal performance of both melting and solidification processes of latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) systems composed of PCM capsules has not been presented in the literature. The present paper describes such a model which can be used to analyze the instantaneous temperature distribution, instantaneous heat transfer rate, and thermal storage capacity of a LHTES system. For solidification, the model is validated with the results in the literature. The thermal performance during melting of a LHTES system composed of PCM spheres is analyzed as an example. The model is not limited to a specific system or a specific PCM, so it can be used to select and optimize system design and to simulate the thermal behavior of various typical LHTES systems.
A General Model for Analyzing the Thermal Performance of the Heat Charging and Discharging Processes of Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage Systems*
Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for publication in the ASME JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the ASME Solar Energy Division, Sept. 2000; final revision, Jan. 2001. Associate Editor: M. Olszewski.
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Zhang, Y., Su , Y., Zhu , Y., and Hu, X. (January 1, 2001). "A General Model for Analyzing the Thermal Performance of the Heat Charging and Discharging Processes of Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage Systems." ASME. J. Sol. Energy Eng. August 2001; 123(3): 232–236. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1374206
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