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Heat Transfer Enhancement of Latent Thermal Energy Storage in Rectangular Components

Time: Wed 2022-04-13 09.00

Location: F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26 & 28, Stockholm

Video link:

Language: English

Subject area: Energy Technology

Doctoral student: Amir Abdi , Tillämpad termodynamik och kylteknik

Opponent: Professor Mohammed Farid, University of Auckland

Supervisor: Professor Viktoria Martin, Kraft- och värmeteknologi, Tillämpad termodynamik och kylteknik; Universitets lektor Justin NingWei Chiu, Kraft- och värmeteknologi


Latent Thermal Energy Storage (LTES) is an interesting choice to storethermal energy in a sustainable energy system. The primary benefit of LTESis the relatively high latent heat of fusion of the materials, known as PhaseChange Materials (PCM), used in such a system as the storage medium.However, as the thermal conductivity of PCMs is often very low, there is aneed to enhance the rate of heat transfer within the charging/dischargingprocess and to improve the thermal performance of the LTES systems.This thesis addresses the enhancing effect of extending heat transfer area inrectangular LTES enclosures. A key contribution of this thesis is acomprehensive visualization of the phase change processes for an organicPCM, including solidification and melting, constrained as well asunconstrained, known as Close-Contact Melting (CCM), in a cavity with andwithout fins. Observations have been carried out for fins of different lengthsand numbers with a varying angle of inclination, and a comprehensive analysisin terms of phase change time and thermal power is conducted.The observations show fins are more influential in solidification than inmelting, reducing the solidification time by 80% and increasing the meanpower by 395%, at a cost of 10% loss in the extracted energy. In contrast, inmelting, fins have a modest effect in enhancing the process. The relativeenhancement effect of fin is higher in constrained melting than inunconstrained melting. In a case with maximum enhancement, a reduction by52% in the constrained melting time and a relative enhancement in the meanpower by 90% is achieved at a cost of 9% loss in the stored energy. As thevolume fraction of fin increases, the discrepancies in melting time betweenthe constrained and unconstrained melting diminishes.A numerical model for solidification and constrained melting is validatedbased on the experiments, and a more inclusive sensitivity analysis of finparameters is performed. The enhancing effect of different parameters on thephase change time and the thermal power is analyzed and the relatively moreeffective measures are identified. Analyzing the simulation data withdimensionless parameters for a cavity oriented horizontally and enhancedwith vertical fins, overall dimensionless groups for solidification and constrained melting have been obtained. The dimensionless groupscontribute in general to achieving a better understanding of fins parametersand to facilitating the LTES designs.In addition, this thesis investigates a novel idea of extending the surface areavia incorporating mini-channels into LTES enclosures, used as passages forair as a low thermal conductive Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF). The mini-scaleinternal hydraulic diameter of the mini-channels and their high external areato-volume ratios make a potential for dual enhancement on both the PCMside and the HTF side. An existing design and a conceptual one with thepossibility of adding fins on the PCM side, capable of being manufactured viaproduction methods of extrusion and Additive Manufacturing (AM),respectively, have been simulated and studied.The two mini-channel types provide considerable enhancements in the rateof heat transfer for a PCM heat exchanger working with air. The degree ofenhancement increases as the air flow rate increases, at the cost of anincreasingly higher pressure drop. Regarding this, increasing the number ofchannels is identified as a more effective enhancing measure than adding finsto the PCM side. In addition, the conceptual design with a higher internalhydraulic diameter and considerably a higher aspect ratio has a lower pressuredrop than the existing design, charging/discharging the thermal energy at asimilar rate but with a lower fan power. More optimized designs withminimization of pressure drop, contribute to paving the way in facilitation ofthe utilization of the enhanced air-PCM heat exchanger in variousapplications.