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Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow 38 (2012) 159–167 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijhff

Flow journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijhff Numerical investigation of liquid flow with phase change

Numerical investigation of liquid flow with phase change nanoparticles in microchannels

Awad B.S. Alquaity a , Salem A. Al-Dini a , Evelyn N. Wang b , Bekir S. Yilbas a ,

a Department of Mechanical Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia b Device Research Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

article info

Article history:

Received 10 February 2012 Received in revised form 20 June 2012 Accepted 9 October 2012 Available online 3 November 2012

Keywords:

Microchannel Phase change material Nanoparticles Laminar flow

abstract

A numerical solution is introduced to investigate the effect of laminar flow with a suspension of phase change material nanoparticles (PCMs) in a microchannel. The nanoparticle suspension consisting of lauric acid nanoparticles in water is introduced into a microchannel of 50 l m height and 35 mm length, where a constant heat flux is applied to the bottom wall. Mass, momentum and energy equations are solved simultaneously using a fluid with effective thermo-physical properties. The effect of various parameters including mass flow rate (1 10 5 –4 10 5 kg/s), heat flux (8000–20,000 W/m 2 ) and particle volume concentrations (0–10%) on the thermal performance is investigated using effectiveness ratio, perfor- mance index, and Merit number. The study is extended to include the optimum channel length for improved thermal performance. For a given particle concentration, an optimum heat flux to mass flow rate ratio exists that leads to the maximum effectiveness ratio of 2.75, performance index of 1.37 and Merit number of 0.64. Such a study facilitates understanding the parametric space to optimize heat trans- fer in microchannels for applications such as thermal management and energy conversion devices. 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

The development of next generation microchips, microproces- sors and other small scale high heat generating applications is constrained by the issue of effective heat removal ( Sabbah et al., 2008 ). The cooling capacity required to reach switching speeds needed for next generation computing devices is of the order of 10 5 W/cm 3 which cannot be met by current liquid cooling systems including microchannel heat sinks ( Xing et al., 2005 ). A promising method to meet the electronic cooling demands for next generation devices, by enhancing heat storage capacity of the heat transfer fluid, is to introduce PCM particles in the fluid. The phase change of the PCM particles in the fluid significantly enhances its heat stor- age capacity and thus increases its ability to absorb high heat fluxes. Therefore, a quantitative assessment of the heat storage capacity increase of the fluid in a microchannel flow with the presence of particles becomes essential. In addition to the heat storage capacity increase, it is also necessary to determine the effect of particles on the pressure drop and entropy generation inside the microchannel. Significant efforts have focused on using PCMs for improving the thermal performance of the carrier fluid in the past decade ( Sabbah et al., 2008; Xing et al., 2005; Kondle et al., 2009; Kuravi et al., 2009, 2010; Goel et al., 1994; Roy and Avanic, 1997; Yamagishi et al.,

Corresponding author. Tel.: +966 3 8604481; fax: +966 3 860 5223. E-mail address: bsyilbas@kfupm.edu.sa (B.S. Yilbas).

0142-727X/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

1999; Rao et al., 2007; Wang et al., 2007, 2008; Chen et al., 2008; Zeng et al., 2009 ). More recently, interest in the thermal perfor- mance of PCM slurries in microchannels have emerged for applica- tions in microchannel heat exchangers and cooling of electronic devices ( Sabbah et al., 2008; Xing et al., 2005; Kondle et al., 2009; Kuravi et al., 2009, 2010 ). Sabbah et al. (2008) performed a three- dimensional numerical study on the performance of microchannel heat sinks using micro-encapsulated PCMs and considered the ther- mal resistance of the heat sink walls while incorporating tempera- ture dependent physical properties for the PCM slurry. Xing et al. (2005) evaluated the performance of liquid flow with PCM particles

in circular microchannels. The conservation equations for the parti-

cle and liquid phase were solved separately while considering the effects of particle–particle interaction and the particle depletion boundary near the wall. A particular Reynolds number and wall heat flux was found to achieve maximum heat transfer enhance- ment with PCM particles. Kondle et al. (2009) numerically studied heat transfer characteristics of PCMs in a laminar flow for circular and rectangular microchannels. The carrier fluid and particles were modeled using homogeneous model while a specific heat model

was used for the phase change of particles. Kuravi et al. (2009) used

a similar homogeneous model to study numerically the thermal

performance of nano-encapsulated PCM slurry in microchannels. The temperature and velocity fields were obtained in three dimen- sional domain and the model included the microchannel fin effect along with the longitudinal conduction along the microchannel

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Nomenclature

A ow

cross-sectional area of the microchannel (m 2 )

C volume concentration of nanoparticles

c p

c p

specific

specific heat of particles in solid state (J kg 1 K 1 ) specific heat of particles in liquid state (J kg 1 K 1 )

hydraulic diameter of the microchannel (m)

heat (J kg 1 K 1 )

, S

c p , L

D h

_

I rate of irreversibility (W)

K thermal conductivity (W m 1 K 1 )

L latent heat of melting of particles (J kg 1 )

Ste

T

T ref

T solidus

T liquidus upper melting temperature (K)

U x component of velocity (m s 1 )

V velocity (m s 1 )

Stefan number

temperature (K) reference temperature taken as 298 K lower melting temperature (K)

Greek symbols

_

m

P

Pr b

q 00

Q

Re b

000

S gen

000

S gen ;av g

mass flow rate (kg s 1 )

l

dynamic viscosity (N s m 2 )

pressure (Pa)

P

density (kg m 3 )

Prandtl number, Pr b ¼ c pb l b = k b heat flux (W m 2 )

Subscripts

heat transfer rate (W)

B

bulk fluid

Reynolds number, Re b ¼ q b v D h =l b

F

carrier fluid

volumetric entropy generation (W m 3 K 1 )

p

particle

averaged volumetric entropy generation rate (W m 3 -

K 1 )

length. Kuravi et al. (2010) investigated the heat transfer perfor- mance of water-based microencapsulated PCM slurry in manifold microchannels both experimentally and numerically. Their findings revealed that the slurry performance was poorer as compared to single fluid. They also performed a parametric study with nano- encapsulated PCM slurry flow. The results of the parametric study showed that using narrower channels and PCM particles with higher thermal conductivity improved the thermal performance of PCM slurry as compared to a single fluid. The laminar hydrody- namic and heat transfer characteristics of suspension flow with micro-nano-size phase-change material (PCM) particles in a micro- channel were investigated by Hao and Tao (2006) . They indicated that the heat transfer enhancement took place in wall region due to the presence of PCM particles. Liquid–liquid two-phase flow in pore array microstructured devices for scaling-up of nanoparticle preparation was examined by Li et al. (2009). The findings revealed that the particle size was decreased with the increase of the droplet size in both the drop flow region and the disk flow region whereas it had a reverse trend in the transition region. Although significant studies using homogeneous model have been performed in the past, none of them have presented the entropy generation due to the addition of PCM particles. For this purpose, we have defined the Merit number to incorporate the thermodynamic irreversibility in the flow system. Moreover, in this paper, we have performed a comprehensive study of the influence of various parameters, including mass flow rate, heat flux, and particle volume concentra- tions, on the thermal performance of the slurry. We use water as the carrier fluid and lauric acid as the PCM particles with different vol- ume concentrations ranging from 0% to 10% in the analysis. Homo- geneous model was used to simulate temperature and flow fields. The thermo-physical properties of the PCM particles are assumed to be constant during the simulations and are given in Table 1 . The thermo-physical properties of carrier fluid are assumed to be temperature dependent.

Table 1 Thermophysical properties of PCM particles.

Fluid

Density (kg/m 3 )

Specific heat

Latent heat

Thermal

(kJ/kg K)

(kJ/kg)

conductivity

 

(W/m K)

Particle (solid)

1007

1.76

211

0.147

Particle (liquid)

862

2.27

0.147

2. Model framework

A schematic of the microchannel incorporated in the model

study is shown in Fig. 1 . In this case, a microchannel of constant

height (50 l m, H ) and length (35,000 l m, L ) is defined in the FLU- ENT™ simulations. For 3D simulations, width of the microchannel is considered to be 2 mm, which is 40 times the microchannel height. The carrier fluid with nanosized particles is assumed to en- ter into the microchannel at a temperature just below the melting temperature of the particles. A constant heat flux is applied at the bottom wall, which heats the carrier fluid and particles. After tra- versing a certain length of the microchannel, the particles undergo phase change. The phase change of the particles plays an important role in decreasing the temperature rise of the fluid as compared to the case with no phase change particles in the flow system and thereby increases the thermal storage capacity of the fluid.

In order to formulate the flow and heat transfer problem, the

following assumptions were made:

The flow of the bulk fluid inside the microchannel is steady and laminar. The fluid is Newtonian up to particle volume concentrations of 10% ( Kuravi et al., 2009 ). The shell encapsulating nanoparticles will be thin, so its effect has been neglected ( Kuravi et al., 2009 ). The particles and carrier fluid are assumed to have the same temperature and velocity in the microchannel ( Kuravi et al.,

2009 ).

The distribution of particles inside the microchannel is homoge-

neous ( Kuravi et al., 2009 ). The PCM particle melts instantaneously once the melting tem- perature is reached ( Kuravi et al., 2009 ).

2.1. Homogeneous model

The governing equations of mass, momentum and energy are solved using the appropriate effective thermo-physical properties of the bulk fluid. The equations governing laminar flow for the bulk fluid are shown below:

Continuity equation:

r ~ v ¼ 0

ð 1Þ

A.B.S. Alquaity et al. / International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow 38 (2012) 159–167

161

Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow 38 (2012) 159–167 161 Fig. 1. Schematic of microchannel used

Fig. 1. Schematic of microchannel used in the FLUENT simulations where heat flux is applied to the bottom wall, and H is the microchannel height, L is the microchannel length. The side walls are assumed to be adiabatic.

Momentum equation:

r ðq b ~ v ~ v Þ¼ rp þ l b r 2 v

Energy equation:

r

ðq b ~ v c pb T Þ ¼ r ð k b rT Þ

ð 2Þ

ð 3Þ

2.2. Bulk fluid thermo-physical properties

2.2.1. Viscosity

The introduction of 50 nm diameter of PCM nanoparticles into the carrier fluid increases its viscosity. The bulk viscosity is calcu- lated as ( Vand, 1945 ):

l b ¼ ð 1 c 1:16c 2 Þ 2: 5 l f

ð 4Þ

The above correlation for bulk viscosity was found to agree well with experimental data presented in ( Fang et al., 2009 ) for nanopar- ticle volume concentrations below 11%.

2.2.2. Thermal conductivity

The Maxwell model ( Maxwell, 1954 ) is used for calculating the bulk thermal conductivity, which is:

k b ¼ k f 2 þ k p = k f þ 2c ð k p =k f 1Þ

2 þ k p = k f c ð k p =k f 1Þ

ð 5Þ

Recently a benchmark experimental study was carried out to measure the effective thermal conductivity of nanofluids. The study concluded that the effective medium theory developed for dispersed particles by Maxwell (1954) is in good agreement with the experimental data ( Buongiorno et al., 2009 ).

2.2.3. Density

The density of the bulk fluid can be calculated using mass bal-

ance as ( Sabbah et al., 2008 ):

q b ¼ c q p þ ð 1 c Þ q f

ð 6Þ

2.2.4. Specific heat

In order to account for the phase change of the particles, a spe- cific heat model is used ( Kondle et al., 2009 ). In the specific heat model, the particle’s phase change is modeled by varying the specific heat capacity of the particles across the solidus and the liq- uidus temperatures. Since the melting temperature of lauric acid is 317.2 K, the melting range of PCM particles is assumed to 316.7– 317.7 K. The specific heat of the bulk fluid can be calculated using the energy balance ( Sabbah et al., 2008 ):

For T p < T solidus :

c pb ¼ c ð qc p; S Þ p þ ð 1 c Þðq c p Þ f

q

b

ð 7Þ

For T solidus < T p < T liquidus :

c pb ¼

c q

c p ; S þc p ;L

2

þ

L

T liquidus T solidus

p þ ð 1 c Þðq c p Þ f

q b

For T P > T liquidus :

c pb ¼ c ðq c p; L Þ p þ ð1 c Þðqc p Þ f

q

b

ð

8Þ

ð 9Þ

The mass flow rate of the bulk fluid at the inlet was varied between 10 5 kg/s and 4 10 5 kg/s. The heat flux at the bottom wall of the microchannel was varied between 8000 W/m 2 and 20,000 W/m 2 . The temperature of the particles and carrier fluid is 315 K at the inlet, which is less than the melting temperature of the PCM particles. At the microchannel outlet, pressure outlet boundary condition is considered. The pressure outlet boundary condition assumes an absolute pressure of 1 atm at the outlet and zero diffusion fluxes in the direction normal to the exit plane for all flow variables (i.e., the velocity and temperature) except pressure.

3. Numerical solution

The control volume approach is used for the discretization of governing equations using FLUENT 12.1.2 C.F.D. code ( FLUENT, 2010 ). All variables are computed at each grid point except the velocities, which are determined midway between the grid points. A staggered grid arrangement is used in the present study, which links the pressure through the continuity equation and is known as SIMPLE algorithm ( Patankar, 1980 ). The pressure relationship between continuity and momentum is established by transforming the continuity equation into a Poisson equation for pressure. The convergence criterion for the scaled residuals is set to 10 6 for con- tinuity and 10 9 for energy equation. Further, surface monitor of temperature at the outlet was used to ensure convergence. Second order upwind schemes were used for discretization of momentum and energy equations.

3.1. Grid

A numerical mesh generator was used to create the geometry and mesh the domain using hexahedral elements. A fine mesh was created near the walls to capture the large gradients normal to the flow direction. Three different grid resolutions, 20 14,000 (Grid 1), 35 18,000 (Grid 2) and 50 35,000 (Grid 3) were used to obtain a grid-independent solution. The maximum differ- ence in Nusselt between the three grids was 0.14. Therefore, Grid 2 was used for further simulations. After the grid independence test, Grid 2 was also validated against analytical Nusselt number

and fanning friction factor results for 2D parallel plate subjected to constant heat flux boundary condition at the top and bottom

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Table 2 Comparison between constant properties and temperature dependent properties.

 

Constant

Temperature

Percentage

properties

dependant properties

difference (%)

D

T (K)

33.69

33.7

0.04

D

P (Pa)

10621.7

8193.8

29.6

walls ( Kandlikar, 2006 ). The difference in Nusselt numbers was of the order of 2%, while the numerical value of friction factor matched exactly with that of the analytical value.

3.2. Temperature dependence

As indicated earlier, temperature dependent thermo-physical properties are used for the carrier fluid. Table 2 shows a compari- son of the temperature rise and pressure drop in case of using con- stant thermo-physical properties and temperature dependent thermo-physical properties. The temperature rise shows a negligi- ble difference in both cases, but the use of constant properties leads to pressure drop being over-estimated by about 30%. The high pressure drop caused by using constant thermo-physical properties is due to the viscosity of water, which is highly depen- dent on temperature. The significant over-estimation of pressure drop motivates performing simulations using temperature depen- dent properties for the carrier fluid despite the longer computation time.

3.3. Model validation

Due to the lack of comparable experimental data for PCM slurry flow in microchannels, the homogeneous model used in this study is validated through comparing the predictions with the experi- mental data obtained for PCM slurry flow in a 3.14 mm diameter circular tube ( Goel et al., 1994 ) and in a 4 mm diameter circular tube ( Wang et al., 2008 ). Fig. 2 shows the comparison of wall tem- perature for Stefan number of 3 predicted using homogeneous model with the experimental data for 10% particle volume concen- tration. Stefan number is defined as the ratio of sensible heat capacity of the slurry to its latent heat capacity and is given as ( Goel et al., 1994 ):

Ste ¼ c pb q 00 D h q b

2k b cLq p

ð

10Þ

q 0 0 D h q b 2 k b cL q p ð 10 Þ

Fig. 2. Comparison of wall temperature obtained using homogeneous model with experimental data ( Goel et al., 1994 ).

model with experimental data ( Goel et al., 1994 ). Fig. 3. Comparison of Nusselt number

Fig. 3. Comparison of Nusselt number obtained using homogeneous model with experimental data ( Chen et al., 2008 ).

It can be observed that the wall temperature predicted by the current model compares well with experimental data. Fig. 3 compares the Nusselt number for two Reynolds number and Stefan number combinations, i.e., Reynolds numbers of 691 and 1418, and Stefan numbers of 1.09 and 1.38. It can be observed that the Nusselt number predicted by the current homogeneous model compares well with the experimental data. The non-dimensional length used in Fig. 3 is defined as:

x þ ¼

h Re 2x b Pr b

D

ð 11Þ

where Re b is Reynolds number and Pr b is the Prandtl number of the bulk fluid.

4. Results and discussion

We investigated the effect of particle volume concentration, mass flow rate and heat flux on the thermal performance of bulk fluid inside the microchannel. The effectiveness ratio ( Xing et al., 2005 ), performance index ( Xing et al., 2005 ), and Merit number are used, where the heat flux applied to different volume concen- trations of PCM fluids is the same, while the heat flux applied to water is varied to maintain the same temperature rise as that of PCM fluid. This approach helps compare the heat transfer increase in the PCM slurry for the same temperature rise as that of water. Fig. 4 shows temperature contours along the channel length for the case with no PCM particles and with 10% particle volume con- centration. The temperature contours shown in the figures corre- spond to the case of mass flow rate of 4 10 5 kg/s and heat flux of 16,000 W/m 2 . It can be observed from the figures that increasing the concentration of PCM particles contributes to temperature de- crease in the channel towards the channel exit by 4.12 K (61% reduction in temperature), which is attributed to the latent heat of fusion associated with the phase change of the PCM particles.

4.1. Effectiveness ratio

The effectiveness ratio is defined as the ratio of heat transfer rate of bulk fluid to the heat transfer rate of carrier fluid for the same temperature rise from inlet to exit of the microchannel. Therefore, the effectiveness ratio gives an indication of the increase in heat transfer of the PCM slurry for the same temperature rise as that of the carrier fluid. For applications having restriction on tem- perature rise of the heat transfer fluid, effectiveness ratio can be

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163

Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow 38 (2012) 159–167 163 Fig. 4. Temperature contour of carrier

Fig. 4. Temperature contour of carrier fluid along the channel length.

used to evaluate the enhancement in heat transfer which can be obtained by using PCM particles in the carrier fluid. The effective- ness ratio is defined as ( Xing et al., 2005 ):

e effectiv eness ¼ Q b

Q f

where

Q b ¼ q 00 Length Width

Q f ¼

_

mc p; f DT f

ð12Þ

ð13Þ

ð14Þ

For the same carrier fluid and bulk fluid mass flow rates, the effectiveness ratio simply reduces to a ratio of their average specific heats. Fig. 5 shows the variation of effectiveness ratio with heat flux to mass flow rate ratio for different particle volume con- centrations of PCM particles. Initially, the effectiveness ratio in- creases with increasing heat flux to mass flow rate ratio of PCM slurry and keeps increasing until it reaches a peak value. Further increase in heat flux to mass flow rate ratio decreases the effective- ness ratio. The heat flux to mass flow rate ratio required to reach the peak effectiveness ratio value increases with increasing volume concentration of particles. Moreover, for higher volume concentra- tion of PCM particles, the peak value of effectiveness ratio is higher. This trend in the effectiveness ratio can be explained as follows:

For a given mass flow rate, the effectiveness ratio is the highest when the ratio of latent heat to sensible heat of the bulk fluid in the microchannel is the largest. The maximum value of latent heat to sensible heat ratio occurs when the particles reach the liquidus temperature (upper melting temperature) at the exit of the micro- channel. This ensures that sensible heating occurs only near the in- let of the microchannel, and, thus, the latent heat ratio is the maximum. For low heat flux to mass flow rate ratio values, the phase change of PCM particles is not complete due to the low value of heat flux applied. Therefore, at low heat flux to mass flow rate ra-

applied. Therefore, at low heat flux to mass flow rate ra- Fig. 5. Variation of effectiveness

Fig. 5. Variation of effectiveness ratio with ratio of heat flux to mass flow rate of PCM slurry, where VF 3, VF 5, VF 7 and VF 10 represents 3%, 5%, 7% and 10% volume concentration of the particles, respectively.

tio, increase in heat flux is reflected in an increase in the value of effectiveness ratio. The effectiveness ratio keeps increasing with increasing heat flux to mass flow rate ratio until enough heat flux is applied to complete the melting of PCM particles within the length of the microchannel. The heat flux to mass flow rate ratio re- quired for complete phase change of PCM particles is larger for higher volume concentration of particles in the carrier fluid. Further increase in heat flux to mass flow rate ratio leads to an increase in the sensible heating of PCM particles after their phase change, and thus the effectiveness ratio starts to reduce. Consequently, the effectiveness ratio increases initially, reaches a peak value and, then, decreases for all volume concentration of PCM particles.

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The maximum effectiveness ratio of 2.75 is obtained for PCM particle volume concentration of 10%. The corresponding value of effectiveness ratio indicates that for the same temperature rise, the bulk fluid at the given operating condition can store 2.75 times the heat flux, which is stored by carrier fluid. From Fig. 5 we can conclude that for a given volume concentration of particles, there exists a heat flux to mass flow rate ratio at which the effectiveness ratio is maximum. A similar observation was presented in ( Xing et al., 2005 ).

4.2. Performance index

The performance index is defined as the ratio of heat transfer rate to fluid pumping power of bulk fluid to the heat transfer rate to fluid pumping power of carrier fluid. Since the pumping power required for heat transfer fluids is an important criterion in thermal management applications, the performance index enables the de- signer to evaluate the increase in heat transfer rate of the PCM slur- ry in comparison to the increase in its pumping power requirement. Since the flow field considered is laminar, the pressure drop in the channel is associated with the frictional loss, which is directly re- lated to the pump power requirements. Since the effectiveness ratio only helps the designer in quantifying the increase in heat transfer due to the addition of PCM particles, the performance index gives a more complete picture of the situation as it incorporates the in- crease in pumping power requirement in addition to the increase in heat transfer obtained due to the addition of PCM particles. The performance index is defined as ( Xing et al., 2005 ):

Performance index ¼ ð Q = P Þ b

ðQ =P Þ f

ð15Þ

where the pumping power of the bulk fluid and carrier fluid are de- fined, respectively as:

P b ¼

Dp b V b A flow

P f ¼ Dp f V f A flow

2

f

Dp f ¼ 32Lq f V Re f D

ð16Þ

ð17Þ

ð18Þ

Fig. 6 shows the variation of performance index with heat flux to mass flow rate ratio for different particle volume concentrations of PCM slurry. The performance index initially increases with increasing heat flux to mass flow rate ratio, reaches a peak value and then decreases. The performance index for each particle vol- ume concentration follows the same trend as effectiveness ratio with the same value of the optimum heat flux to mass flow rate ra- tio. However, at high heat flux to mass flow rate ratio, the perfor- mance index of the bulk fluid with higher volume concentration of particles is lower than the performance index for lower volume concentrations. The behavior of bulk fluid with higher particle vol- ume concentrations having a lower performance index, compared to bulk fluid with lower particle volume concentrations, is associ- ated with increase in temperature of the bulk fluid, which causes sharp decrease in viscosity. A larger temperature rise inside the microchannel translates to a lower pressure drop compared to the case in which a lower temperature rise of bulk fluid inside the microchannel is encountered. The use of bulk fluid with high particle concentrations suppresses the temperature rise as well as increases the viscosity of the bulk fluid due to the presence of high particle concentrations. The reduction in temperature rise is due to the phase change of the particles inside the microchannel, which increases the effectiveness ratio with increasing particle vol- ume concentration, however, this also results in an increase in the pressure drop of the bulk fluid. When the heat flux to mass flow

drop of the bulk fluid. When the heat flux to mass flow Fig. 6. Variation of

Fig. 6. Variation of performance index with ratio of heat flux to mass flow rate of PCM slurry, where VF 3, VF 5, VF 7 and VF 10 represents 3%, 5%, 7% and 10% volume concentration of the particles, respectively.

rate ratio is high, the increase in effectiveness ratio due to increase in volume concentration of particles is not significant due to in- crease in the sensible heating of the bulk fluid inside the micro- channel. Therefore, when the increase in effectiveness ratio is unable to offset the increase in pressure drop of the bulk fluid, the performance index decreases. This results in bulk fluid with high particle volume concentrations having a lower performance index as observed in Fig. 6 . A performance index below unity indicates that the heat trans- fer rate per fluid pumping power for the bulk fluid is lower than the carrier fluid and, therefore, the bulk fluid should not be used under these operating conditions. For 3% volume concentration of particles in the slurry, the performance index of the bulk fluid for all heat flux to mass flow rate ratios is below unity ( Fig. 6 ), indicat- ing that the use of bulk fluid entails a lower heat transfer rate to fluid pumping power ratio, as compared to water. Moreover, Fig. 6 reveals that the performance index of the bulk fluid contain- ing 5%, 7% and 10% volume concentrations exceeds unity only within a range of heat flux to mass flow rate ratio. The maximum performance index of 1.37 is obtained for parti- cle volume concentration of 10%. The performance index follows a similar trend as effectiveness ratio for a given particle volume con- centration. From the above discussion, it can be concluded that for a given volume concentration of particles, there exists a heat flux to mass flow rate ratio at which the performance index is the max- imum. A similar observation was also made in ( Xing et al., 2005 ).

4.3. Merit number

The thermal conductivity of the bulk fluid decreases due to the addition of PCM particles into the carrier fluid. Further, the addi- tion of PCM particles increases the viscosity of the bulk fluid, there- by, increasing the pressure drop in the microchannel. The decrease in thermal conductivity and increase in pressure drop contribute to an increase in the entropy generation rate inside the microchannel. However, increase in volume concentration of particles increases the heat flux than can be absorbed by the bulk fluid for a given temperature rise. Therefore, Merit number is introduced to calcu- late the ratio of the gain versus input and losses due to the addition of particles. The Merit number takes into account the entropy generation rate due to fluid friction and heat transfer caused by the addition of PCM particles. It is defined as the ratio of the gain in heat transfer due to the use of PCM particles to the sum of heat

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165

Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow 38 (2012) 159–167 165 Fig. 7. Variation of Merit number

Fig. 7. Variation of Merit number with ratio of heat flux to mass flow rate of PCM slurry, where VF 3, VF 5, VF 7 and VF 10 represents 3%, 5%, 7% and 10% volume concentration of the particles, respectively.

transferred at the bottom wall of the microchannel and the irre- versibility. The Merit number is defined as:

Merit number ¼ Q gain I Q b þ

_

where

Q gain ¼ Q b Q f

_

I ¼ S gen ; av g v olume T ref

000

ð19Þ

ð 20Þ

ð21Þ

000

gen ¼ k b

S

T 2

"

@

T

@

x

2

þ

@

T

@

y

2

# þ

l b

T

@

u

@

y

2

ð

22Þ

In Fig. 7 the Merit number is plotted against heat flux to mass flow rate ratio for different particle volume concentrations. The Merit number follows the same trend as effectiveness ratio with the same value of optimum heat flux for a given particle volume concentration. The Merit number of the bulk fluid with 10% volume concentration of particles is the highest for all heat flux to mass flow rate ratios considered in the simulations and it shows that the increase in irreversibility due to the addition of PCM particles is being offset by the gain in heat transfer for all heat flux to mass flow rate ratios considered. While the performance index compares the heat flux to pumping power ratio for PCM slurry with the heat flux to pumping power ratio for carrier fluid only, the Merit num- ber provides a comparison between the gain in heat transfer and irreversibility due to different volume concentrations of PCM par- ticles. The irreversibility takes into account the decrease in thermal conductivity as well as the increase in fluid friction caused by the addition of PCM particles to the carrier fluid. Therefore, the Perfor- mance Index includes the effect of increase in pressure drop only, while the Merit number takes into account the effect of increase in pressure drop as well as decrease in thermal conductivity of the bulk fluid. The highest Merit number is 0.64 and it can be observed from Fig. 7 that for a given volume concentration of particles, there exists a heat flux to mass flow rate ratio at which the Merit number is maximum.

4.4. Optimum length

As mentioned earlier, the enhancement in heat storage capacity due to the addition of PCM particles is significant when the completion of phase change of PCM particles coincides with the exit

when the completion of phase change of PCM particles coincides with the exit Fig. 8. Optimum

Fig. 8. Optimum length of the microchannel.

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Table 3 Constant C 2 for different volume concentrations of PCM particles.

Volume concentration of PCM particles (%)

C

2

3

1.083

5

0.814

7

0.7

10

0.613

of the microchannel. The completion of phase change at the exit ensures that the PCM slurry flow undergoes sensible heating only near the inlet and thus maximum increase in heat storage capacity is obtained. The length required for the phase change of PCM parti- cles, defined as optimum length ( L opt ), however, depends on the heat flux applied, the mass flow rate of the PCM slurry as well as the vol- ume concentration of PCM particles in the slurry. In this study, the optimum length is obtained by calculating the distance from the in- let of the microchannel to the axial location at which phase change of PCM particles is completed for different heat fluxes, mass flow rates and volume concentrations of particles. Using microchannels of optimum length will result in peak values of the effectiveness ratio, performance index and Merit number for given volume concentra- tion of particles. Fig. 8 shows the variation of L opt / D h with the differ- ent parameters, where D h is the hydraulic diameter of the microchannel. From Fig. 8 , it can be clearly observed that increasing the mass flow rate of the PCM slurry, while keeping volume concen- tration of PCM particles and heat flux constant increases the optimum length required for phase change. Increase in volume con- centration of PCM particles while keeping other parameters con- stant also leads to increase in the optimum length. Increase in heat flux applied to the PCM slurry always decreases the optimum length. Fig. 8 provides detailed design information for different heat fluxes, mass flow rates and volume concentrations of PCM slurry for the operating conditions used in this study. In general, the ratio L opt / D h can be written as:

L

opt

D h

_

m

¼ B 1 00 ðB 2 þ B 3 Þ

q

ð23Þ

where B 1 is a constant which depends on the dimensions of the microchannel and constant B 2 depends on the particle volume con- centration, thermo-physical properties of the carrier fluid and PCM

particle and the slurry inlet temperature. The constant B 3 depends on the melting range of PCM particle and the thermo-physical prop-

erties of the PCM particle and carrier fluid. In the above equation, m is the slurry mass flow rate and q 00 is the heat flux applied to differ-

ent volume concentrations of PCM slurry. For the conditions used in this study, the above equation (Eq. (23)) can be written in terms of heat flux, slurry mass flow rate and particle volume concentration as:

_

L

opt

D h

¼

_

m

C 1 00 ð C 2 c þ C 3 Þ

q

ð24Þ

where C 1 , C 2 and C 3 are constants and c is the volume concentration of PCM particles. For all volume concentration of PCM particles, C 1 = 5 10 10 and C 3 = 0.4. The value of constant C 2 is different for different volume concentration of particles and is given in Table 3 . The above Eq. (24) gives the value of L opt /D h within 3% error.

5. Conclusions

We investigated microchannel flow for water with the presence of nanosized lauric acid PCM particles using the homogeneous fluid model. A parametric study is carried out through varying the mass flow rate, heat flux and particle volume concentration of the bulk fluid. It is found that there exists an optimum heat flux to mass

flow rate ratio for a given volume concentration of particles at which the effectiveness ratio, the performance index, and the Merit number are the maximum. The effectiveness ratio is greater than 1

for all cases and it reaches a maximum value of 2.75. This indicates that for the same temperature rise, the bulk fluid can store 175% more heat as compared to carrier fluid without particles. The per- formance index is lower than 1 for all heat flux to mass flow rate ratios for the PCM slurry of 3% particle volume concentration. The maximum value of the performance index is 1.37, which re- flects a 37% increase in heat transfer rate to fluid pumping power ratio of the bulk fluid as compared to carrier fluid. The Merit num- ber follows the same trend as the effectiveness ratio, which indi- cates that the increase in irreversibility due to addition of PCM particles is offset by the gain in heat transfer. The effectiveness ra- tio, performance index and the Merit number have the same corre- sponding value of optimum heat flux to mass flow rate ratio for a given particle concentration. The ratios calculated in this study, namely, effectiveness ratio, performance index and Merit number guide the designer regarding the conditions to be used in order to obtain the maximum benefit by the addition of PCM particles. Moreover, L opt / D h guides the designer in selecting the dimensions of the microchannel for the operating conditions used in this study.

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the support of Center of Excellence for Scientific Research Collaboration with MIT and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia for this work.

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