Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Comparison of Numerical and Experimental Assessment of a Latent Heat Energy Storage Module for a High-Temperature Phase-Change Material

[+] Author and Article Information
Antonio Ramos Archibold

Clean Energy Research Center,
University of South Florida,
Tampa, FL 33620;
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of South Florida,
Tampa, FL 33620;
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Universidad Autónoma del Caribe,
Barranquilla, Colombia

Abhinav Bhardwaj, D. Yogi Goswami

Clean Energy Research Center,
University of South Florida,
Tampa, FL 33620;
Department of Chemical and
Biomedical Engineering,
University of South Florida,
Tampa, FL 33620

Muhammad M. Rahman

Clean Energy Research Center,
University of South Florida,
Tampa, FL 33620;
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of South Florida,
Tampa, FL 33620
e-mail: muhammad.rahman@wichita.edu

Elias L. Stefanakos

Clean Energy Research Center,
University of South Florida,
Tampa, FL 33620;
Department of Electrical Engineering,
University of South Florida,
Tampa, FL 33620

1Corresponding author.

2Present address: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount Street, Wichita, KS 67260-0133.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 27, 2015; final manuscript received April 12, 2016; published online June 14, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Gunnar Tamm.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 138(5), 052007 (Jun 14, 2016) (7 pages) Paper No: JERT-15-1234; doi: 10.1115/1.4033585 History: Received June 27, 2015; Revised April 12, 2016

This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the heat transfer during the melting process of a high-temperature (>800 °C) phase-change material (PCM) encapsulated in a vertical cylindrical container. The energy contributions from radiation, natural convection, and conduction have been included in the mathematical model in order to capture most of the physics that describe and characterize the problem and quantify the role that each mechanism plays during the phase-change process. Numerical predictions based on the finite-volume method have been obtained by solving the mass, momentum, and energy conservation principles along with the enthalpy porosity method to track the liquid/solid interface. Experiments were conducted to obtain the temperature response of the thermal energy storage (TES) cell during the sensible heating and phase-change regions of the PCM. Continuous temperature measurements of porcelain crucibles filled with ACS grade NaCl were recorded. The temperature readings were recorded at the center of the sample and at the wall of the crucible as the samples were heated in a furnace over a temperature range of 700–850 °C. The numerical predictions have been validated by the experimental results, and the effect of the controlling parameters of the system on the melt fraction rate has been evaluated. The results showed that the natural convection is the dominant heat transfer mechanism. In all the experimental study cases, the measured temperature response captured the PCM melting trend with acceptable repeatability. The uncertainty analysis of the experimental data yielded an approximate error of ±5.81 °C.

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Fig. 1

Schematic representation of the physical domain

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Fig. 2

Experimental setup showing the sample and data-acquisition system

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Fig. 3

Temperature profile of the center of the sample for five thermal cycles

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Fig. 4

Temperature profile of the crucible wall

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Fig. 5

Comparison between the experimental and numerical results for the temperature at the center of the sample

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Fig. 6

Predicted melting rate of the sample

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Fig. 7

Predicted evolution of the sample melting process: (a) t = 5 min, (b) t = 10 min, (c) t = 14 min, and (d) t = 16 min



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