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International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijhff
Numerical investigation of liquid ﬂow with phase change nanoparticles in microchannels
Awad B.S. Alquaity ^{a} , Salem A. AlDini ^{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 thermophysical 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. Email address: bsyilbas@kfupm.edu.sa (B.S. Yilbas).
0142727X/$  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 microencapsulated 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 nanoencapsulated 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 _{ﬂ}_{o}_{w}
crosssectional 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 _{r}_{e}_{f}
T _{s}_{o}_{l}_{i}_{d}_{u}_{s}
T _{l}_{i}_{q}_{u}_{i}_{d}_{u}_{s} 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 ^{0}^{0}
Q
Re _{b}
000
S gen
000
S _{g}_{e}_{n} _{;}_{a}_{v} _{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 _{p}_{b} 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 waterbased 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 micronanosize phasechange 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 twophase ﬂow in pore array microstructured devices for scalingup 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 thermophysical properties of the PCM particles are assumed to be constant during the simulations and are given in Table 1 . The thermophysical 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 thermophysical 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
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161
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 _{p}_{b} T Þ ¼ r ð k _{b} rT Þ
ð 2Þ
ð 3Þ
2.2. Bulk ﬂuid thermophysical 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 ):
^{F}^{o}^{r} ^{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
^{F}^{o}^{r} ^{T} solidus ^{<} ^{T} p ^{<} ^{T} liquidus ^{:}
c pb ¼
c q
^{c} p ; S ^{þ}^{c} p ;L
2
þ
L
^{T} liquidus ^{} ^{T} solidus
_{p} þ ð 1 c Þðq c _{p} Þ _{f}
q b
^{F}^{o}^{r} ^{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 gridindependent 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 thermophysical 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 thermophysical properties and temperature dependent thermophysical properties. The temperature rise shows a negligi ble difference in both cases, but the use of constant properties leads to pressure drop being overestimated by about 30%. The high pressure drop caused by using constant thermophysical properties is due to the viscosity of water, which is highly depen dent on temperature. The signiﬁcant overestimation 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} ^{p}^{b} ^{q} ^{0}^{0} ^{D} ^{h} ^{q} ^{b}
2k _{b} cLq _{p}
ð
10Þ
Fig. 2. Comparison of wall temperature obtained using homogeneous model with experimental data ( Goel et al., 1994 ).
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 nondimensional length used in Fig. 3 is deﬁned as:
x ^{þ} ¼
_{h} Re ^{2}^{x} b _{P}_{r} 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
A.B.S. Alquaity et al. / International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow 38 (2012) 159–167
163
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 ^{0}^{0} 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
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 _{f}_{l}_{o}_{w}
P _{f} ¼ Dp _{f} V _{f} A _{f}_{l}_{o}_{w}
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
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
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} ^{g}^{a}^{i}^{n} I Q _{b} þ
_
where
Q _{g}_{a}_{i}_{n} ¼ Q _{b} Q _{f}
_
I ¼ S _{g}_{e}_{n} _{;} _{a}_{v} _{g} v olume T _{r}_{e}_{f}
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
Fig. 8. Optimum length of the microchannel.
166
A.B.S. Alquaity et al. / International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow 38 (2012) 159–167
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 _{o}_{p}_{t} ), 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 _{o}_{p}_{t} / 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 _{o}_{p}_{t} / D _{h} can be written as:
L
opt
D h
_
m
¼ B _{1} _{0}_{0} 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, thermophysical 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 thermophysical prop
erties of the PCM particle and carrier ﬂuid. In the above equation, m is the slurry mass ﬂow rate and q ^{0}^{0} 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} _{0}_{0} 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 ^{1}^{0} 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 _{o}_{p}_{t} /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 _{o}_{p}_{t} / 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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