This study concerns experimental evaluation of heat transfer during energy storage and release for the phase change of paraffin wax in spherical shells. Measurements are made using air as the heat transfer fluid (HTF), copper spheres with diameters of 2, 3, 4, and 6 cm. A detailed temperature field is obtained within the spheres using 10 thermocouple wires. Values of the air velocity and temperature used in the experiments are 4–10 m/s and 60–90°C, respectively. Measured times for melting and solidification varied over a range of 5–15 and 2–5 minutes, respectively. Calculations show that the Nusselt number in the phase change material (PCM) during melting is one order of magnitude higher than during solidification. Results indicate that the Nusselt number for melting has a strong dependence on the sphere diameter, lower dependence on the air temperature, and a negligible dependence on the air velocity. Variations in the Fourier number for melting and solidification show similar trends. An increase in the Nusselt number for a larger sphere diameter is attributed to increase in natural convection cells in the PCM inside the spheres. The larger volume allows for the free motion for the descent and rise of cooler and hotter molten wax. During the solidification process, the solid wax is evenly formed through the sphere, starting from the outer surface and moving inward. As the solidification proceeds, the melt volume decreases with a simultaneous decrease in the magnitude of natural convection within the melt. The higher values of Fourier number for melting indicate the consumption of a large part of the HTF energy in heating the molten wax rather than melting of the solid wax.
Heat Transfer During Phase Change of Paraffin Wax Stored in Spherical Shells
Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. Manuscript received by the ASME Solar Division July 9, 2004; final revision August 3, 2004. Associate Editor: Jane Davidson.
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Ettouney, H., El-Dessouky , H., and Al-Ali, A. (July 20, 2005). "Heat Transfer During Phase Change of Paraffin Wax Stored in Spherical Shells ." ASME. J. Sol. Energy Eng. August 2005; 127(3): 357–365. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1850487
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