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Computational Modeling of Latent Thermal Energy Storage System With Embedded Heat Pipes

[+] Author Affiliations
Karthik Nithyanandam, Ranga Pitchumani

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Paper No. IMECE2010-38682, pp. 369-376; 8 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; NanoEngineering for Energy; Engineering to Address Climate Change, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4429-8
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Due to the intermittent nature of solar energy availability, storing sun’s energy in the form of latent thermal energy of a phase change material (PCM) is an effective technique that is widely used in energy storage and load management applications. In a Latent Thermal Energy Storage System (LTES), a heat transfer fluid (HTF) exchanges energy with a PCM. The advantages of an LTES include its isothermal operation and high energy storage density. However, the low thermal conductivity of PCM poses a significant disadvantage due to reduction in the rate at which the PCM can be melted (charging) or solidified (discharging). This paper explores an approach to reducing the thermal resistance of PCM in a LTES through embedded heat pipes. A heat pipe is a passive heat transfer device that efficiently transfers large amount of energy between the PCM and HTF thus indirectly amplifying the effective thermal conductivity of PCM. A transient computational analysis of a shell and tube LTES embedded with heat pipes is performed for charging to determine the position of melt front and energy stored as a function of time. The influence of the number and orientation of heat pipes and design configuration of the system is analyzed to identify configurations that lead to improved effectiveness.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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