Numerical Calculation and Simulation on Melting and Solidification Time Periods of a Phase Change Material

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Numerical Calculation and Simulation on Melting and Solidification Time Periods of a Phase Change Material

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Online available since 2012/Jan/24 at www.scientific.net

(2012) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland

doi:10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.455-456.374

Periods of a Phase Change Material

Sun Xiaoqin1,a, Zhang Quan2,b, Liu Yingjun2,b, Yang Hongxing2,b,

Zhang Linfeng3,c, Liao Shuguang3,c

1

College of Civil Engineering, Hunan University, Changsha, China, 410082

2

Department of Building Services Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HongKong,

China

3

Changsha Maxxom Hi-tech Co. Ltd, Changsha, China, 410007

a

hnsunxiaoqin@163.com, bbehxyang@polyu.edu.hk, c

lsg@maxxom.com.cn

Abstract. Energy storage technology is becoming more important nowadays due to use of renewable

energy resources. The heat transfer performance of a PCM (phase change material) which is the

carrier of energy is the main factor that affects its utilization. This paper presents the thermal

characteristics of the PCM-20. An energy storage module is designed based on the numerical

calculation results from the MATLAB. Numerical simulation about this module is carried out by CFD

software. The simulation results have been compared with the results of numerical calculation and the

error between them has been analyzed and discussed.

Introduction

In recent year, environmental concerns are increasing. The use of renewable energy resources such as

solar, wind, geothermal energy and industrial waste heat is becoming one of the key researches. As

solar, wind, geothermal and industrial waste energies are instable[1-2], the technology of energy storage

and its utilization appear quite important.

The PCM (phase change material) which is the carrier of energy has many different types. There

are solid-liquid, solid-solid, solid-gas, liquid-gas phase-changing materials according to their

phase-changing forms[3]. Among them, the technology of solid-liquid PCM is relatively mature

which is the main utilization nowadays.

Renewable energy resources have been exploited and utilized since 1970s. To solve the

unmatched problem of energy supply and demand in amount and time for using the renewable

energy resources, PCMs have been used to store energy[4-5]in renewable enegy systems Numerical

calculation is mainly used for solving the heat transfer problems of the PCMs[6-7]. However, the

effect of liquid fluidity is neglected in heat transfer calculations. The calculation method is

presented in the literature[8] considering liquid fluidity. Meanwhile simulation is also the common

method to solve this problem[9].

The PCM technology is also studied in China. Professor Cheng[10] has done many researches

about the contact melting problems of PCMs in horizontal rectangular, round and elliptic tubes. The

thermal conductivity of the PCMs is always the research point[11-12], for solving heat transfer

problems. Liang Yi[13] proposed that a state space method could be used in solving this problem.

Zhongliang Liu[14]presented the influence of latent heat variation with temperature on solid-liquid

phase change process. There are also many other scholars who have done many researches about

the heat transfer with specific boundary conditions and special phase change module[15-16].

However, the researches in China and aboard have always focused on the numerical calculation

or simulation only, but they have not been combined. In this paper the energy conservation equation

was established separately in the solid-phase, liquid-phase area and phase interface with

temperature and phase interface position as variables. The time used for melting/solidification,

position of phase interface and heat transfer were calculated by the MATLAB software. The energy

All rights reserved. No part of contents of this paper may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of TTP,

www.ttp.net. (ID: 130.15.241.167, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada-27/12/14,10:24:58)

Advanced Materials Research Vols. 455-456 375

storage module was established based on the results. A simulation was carried out about this module

by using the CFD software and the results from simulation were compared and analyzed with the

results from numerical calculation.

This paper presents the melting/solidification time, position of phase interface and heat transfer of the

PCM-20 by the MATLAB. The related parameters of the PCM-20 are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. The performance parameters of PCM-20

K Cp

Materi Tm hm

/W/m

kJ/kg /kg/m3

al

/ /kJ

solid liquid solid liquid solid liquid

/kg

PCM-

20 218 0.72 0.50 2.32 2.11 942 895

20

As shown in Figure 1, liquid (solid) PCM-20 is in homogeneous temperature Ti (Ti=Tm). When

t0, the boundary temperature suddenly decreases (or increases) and keep a temperature Tw which

is lower (or higher) than the phase-changing temperature Tm. Liquid (or solid) appears

solidification (or melting) and the phase interface begins to move facing the x axis. The density

difference before and after the phase-changing is neglected. The energy conservation equations are

as follows:

solid

Ts 2Ts

= as (xs(t)) (1)

t x 2

liquid

Tl 2Tl

= al (xs(t)) (2)

t x 2

boundary and initial conditions

Ts (x,0)=Tl(x,0)=Ti t0 (3)

Ts (0,t)=Tw x=0,t0 (4)

Tl(x,t)Ti when x (5)

phase interface

Ts(st) = Tl(st) =Tm x=s(t) (6)

Ts Tl ds

ks kl = hm

x x=s x x=s dt (7)

376 Future Material Research and Industry Application

ttime, s

athermal diffusivity, m2/s

xcoordinate, m

kthermal conductivity, W/m.

density, kg/m3

sposition of phase interface, m

hmphase-changing enthalpy, kJ/kg

The subscript s means solid and l means liquid.

Neglecting the effects of the liquidity and sensible heat while melting and solidification, the

initial temperature is 20. The boundary temperature of solidification and melting is 10 and

30, separately. The MATLAB is used to solve the equations above with the method in literature

[3] and the results are obtained as:

melting

s (t ) = 0.256 t mm (8)

solidification

s (t ) = 0.285 t mm (9)

The constant coefficients in above equations are associated with thermal conductivity, capacity,

enthalpy, density of the PCM and boundary conditions, which increase with its thermal conductivity

and the difference between the boundary and phase-changing temperatures increases. The thermal

conductivity of the solid is greater than the liquid of the same material, so that cooling charging is

faster than cooling discharging with the same boundary conditions, as shown is Figure 2.

We can also get the heat transfer relationship as following

[ ]

Q = 4 hhm (s (t ) + 4.76 ) 4.76 2 10 6 kJ

2

(10)

where is density and s (t) can be found from Equation (8), but for solidification, is solid

density and s (t) can be found from Equation (9); h is the height of energy storage module.

We can see that the heat transfer rate is almost constant with time shown in Figure 3. At the first

10 minutes, because the thermal conductivity difference between solid and liquid is very small and

the difference between the boundary and phase-changing temperatures is the main factor for

determing the heat transfer in the system, the heat transfer in the solidification and melting

processes have good agreement. The thermal conductivity is becoming the main factor that affects

the heat transfer with time, which is bigger in solidification than that in melting. Basically, the heat

transfer process is stable.

Advanced Materials Research Vols. 455-456 377

A copper pipe with diameter 9.52mm is used as heat source and the heat transfer along the pipe

is ignored so that the heat transfer area for each pipe is a cylinder. We can see that three hours later

the distance between the phase interface and heat source boundary is 26mm in melting process and

29mm in solidification. The heat transferring area of the pipe is a cylinder with diameter of

30.76mm. We use two U-tupe pipes with space of 87mm to guarantee the uniformity of heat

transfer. The energy storage module is an adiabatic cylinder with diameter of 148mm and height of

200mm, as shown in Figures 4 and 5 The total time of heat transfer is three hours, effective volume

is 3.388L and total stored energy is 661kJ.

The simulation has been done on this module and the results can be seen in Figures 6-11. The

boundary temperature in melting and solidification is 30 and 10, separately. The parameters of

the PCM can be seen in Ttable 1. The results of the melting process after one, two and three hours are

showed in Ffigures 6, 7 and 8, separately, where . In these figures, 0 in y-coordinate meanssays

liquid, 1 meanssays solid and the intermediate value meanssays liquid-solid mixture. Similarly,

the results of solidification after one, two and three hours are showed in Ffigures 9, 10 and 11,

378 Future Material Research and Industry Application

separately. The Y-coordinate is the same inas Figures 6-8. The phase interfaces in melting and

solidification processes are both a circle which areis gradually moving toward the centre of the heat

source. The thermal conductivity of the solid is greater than that of liquid, so the solidification process

is faster than the melting process, i.e. charing is faster than discharing.

Advanced Materials Research Vols. 455-456 379

Comparisons of the results between the numerical calculation and CFD simulation are shown in

Figure12.

Figure 12. The results comparison between numerical calculation and CFD simulation

As shown in Figure 12, in the first 10 minutes the phase interface changes quickly when the

position of the phase interface is mainly decided by the difference between the boundary and

phase-changing temperatures. The temperature differences in melting and solidification processes

are both 10, so that the phase interfaces in melting and solidification are in good agreements.

With the phase interfaces moving, the thermal conductivity is becoming the main factor. Because

of the greater thermal conductivity of solid, the heat transferring rate in solidification is bigger than

that in melting and solidification is faster than melting. As time goes on, thermal conductivity has

been the main factor that restricted the position of the phase interface and the position difference

between solidification and melting is bigger and bigger. Three hours later, we can see that the heat

transferring rate is very small and it needs a much longer time for phase interface moving outside

further.

380 Future Material Research and Industry Application

The heat transferring is slower in the simulation than calculation because the effects of radiation

and convection are neglected. The error between simulation and calculation is 19% in melting and

18% in solidification. During the same time the heat transfer in solidification is more than that in

melting. Some solid is not melted, which can minimize the supercooling in cold storage.

1) The MATLAB is used for the calculation of the PCM-20 thermal processes. The position of

the phase interface is an exponential function of time. At first, the difference between the boundary

and phase-changing temperatures is the main factor that affects the position of the phase interface.

With the heat transferring going on, the thermal conductivity is becoming the key factor;

2) The heat transfer is basically a stable process when the affects of density variation and

sensible heat are not considered;

3) The results of simulation by CFD and numerical calculation have some error which is 19% in

solidification and 18% in melting;

4) The thermal conductivity of solid is bigger than that of liquid, so that during the same time the

energy stored is more than that released. There is some solid not melted which can minimize the

super cooling in cold storage.

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Changsha Technology Plan (K1003315-31)

References

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[2] M.M. Farid, A.M. Khudhair, S.A.K. Razack. A review on phase change energy storage:

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[3] Zhang Yinping, Hu Hanping, Kong Xiangdong. Phase change energy storage-theory and

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Future Material Research and Industry Application

10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.455-456

Numerical Calculation and Simulation on Melting and Solidification Time Periods of a Phase Change

Material

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