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Authors: Vogel, Julian
Title: Influence of natural convection on melting of phase change materials
Issue Date: 2019 Dissertation ix, 103
Abstract: Latent heat storage could play an important role in bridging the gap between supply and demand of sustainable energy sources. However, the numerical models for natural convection dominated melting that are needed for storage system design are not sufficiently validated, due to a lack of suitable experiments. A novel validation experiment for the melting of a model phase change material (n-octadecane) by heating from two vertical opposite sides was developed. The phase state and the velocities in the liquid phase were measured using shadowgraphy and Particle Image Velocimetry. Interior and boundary temperatures were measured with thermocouples. The performed experiments delivered space and time-resolved data of the relevant quantities including an error analysis. Two numerical models for natural convection dominated melting were developed with the commercial fluid flow solver ANSYS Fluent: a first detailed model with variable material properties allows volume expansion of the phase change material into an air phase with the volume of fluid method. A second simplified model assumes constant material properties and models buoyancy with the Boussinesq approximation. Due to similar results, the simplified model was selected to reproduce the experiment in a 3D simulation including mechanical and thermal boundary effects. The simulated velocities were found to be higher as in the experiment, but the liquid phase fraction and temperatures, which are more relevant to the design process, agreed well. In a numerical parameter study, the simplified model was used to investigate melting in rectangular enclosures with various dimensions. The influence of natural convection on heat transfer was assessed with the introduced convective enhancement factor, which was defined as the ratio of the actual heat flux to a hypothetical heat flux by conduction. The study was extended with experimental data for three different values of driving temperature difference. Correlations for the liquid phase fraction in dimensionless form were derived to predict similar melting processes for a large parameter range. This enables the consideration of natural convection in the design of latent heat storage systems without expensive and time-consuming numerical analyses.
Appears in Collections:04 Fakultät Energie-, Verfahrens- und Biotechnik

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