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Robust Heat Transfer Enhancement During Melting and Solidification of a PCM Using a Combined Heat Pipe-Metal Foam or Foil Configuration

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael J. Allen, Amir Faghri

University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Theodore L. Bergman

University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Paper No. ES2014-6324, pp. V001T02A002; 12 pages
  • ASME 2014 8th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2014 12th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Volume 1: Combined Energy Cycles, CHP, CCHP, and Smart Grids; Concentrating Solar Power, Solar Thermochemistry and Thermal Energy Storage; Geothermal, Ocean, and Emerging Energy Technologies; Hydrogen Energy Technologies; Low/Zero Emission Power Plants and Carbon Sequestration; Photovoltaics; Wind Energy Systems and Technologies
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, June 30–July 2, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4586-8
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Experiments are performed to analyze melting and solidification of a phase change material (PCM) enclosed in a vertical cylinder by a concentrically-located heat pipe (HP) surrounded by either aluminum foam or foils. The liquid fraction, temperature distribution, melting (solidification) rates and effectiveness are reported to quantify the improvement in performance relative to a base case, a Rod-PCM configuration. Parameters of interest include the porosity of the PCM-metal composite, the foil thickness, the number of foils and the foam pore density. The main contributor to enhanced performance is shown to be the porosity for both the HP-Foil-PCM and HP-Foam-PCM configurations. Both of these configurations improve heat transfer rates relative to either the HP-PCM or the Rod-PCM configuration. However, the HP-Foil-PCM configuration is shown to have approximately the same performance as the HP-Foam-PCM configuration with one third of the metal mass, for the range of porosities studied here (0.870 to 0.987). The HP-Foil-PCM configuration, with a porosity of 0.957 using 162 foils of thickness 0.024 mm, attained an overall rate of phase change that is about 15 times greater than that of the Rod-PCM configuration and about 10 times greater than that of the HP-PCM configuration. The greatest degree of enhancement was achieved with the HP-Foil-PCM configuration (with porosity 0.957) yielding an average effectiveness during melting (solidification) of 14.7 (8.4), which is an extraordinary improvement over the base case.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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