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Research Papers: Melting and Solidification

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

[+] Author and Article Information
Michael J. Allen

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Connecticut,
191 Auditorium Road, Unit 3139,
Storrs, CT 06269
e-mail: michael.allen@uconn.edu

Theodore L. Bergman

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Kansas,
1530 W. 15th Street,
3138 Learned Hall,
Lawrence, KS 66045
e-mail: tlbergman@ku.edu

Amir Faghri

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Connecticut,
191 Auditorium Road, Unit 3139,
Storrs, CT 06269
e-mail: faghri@engr.uconn.edu

Nourouddin Sharifi

Mem. ASME
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Connecticut,
191 Auditorium Road, Unit 3139,
Storrs, CT 06269
e-mail: nourouddin.sharifi@uconn.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received April 1, 2014; final manuscript received February 22, 2015; published online June 2, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Jose L. Lage.

J. Heat Transfer 137(10), 102301 (Oct 01, 2015) (12 pages) Paper No: HT-14-1165; doi: 10.1115/1.4029970 History: Received April 01, 2014; Revised February 22, 2015; Online June 02, 2015

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 radial aluminum foils. The PCM liquid fraction, temperature distribution, melting (solidification) rates, and effectiveness are reported to quantify the improvement in thermal 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 with one-third of the metal (foil) mass is shown to have approximately the same performance as the HP-Foam-PCM configuration, for the range of porosities studied here (0.870–0.987). This may be attributed to the metal morphology and resulting contact area between the metal enhancer and the HP. 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.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic of the experimental apparatus. TC locations may be found in Table 3.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Temperature distribution histories during melting for the (a) HP-Foil-PCM (φ = 0.957, N = 162, t2 = 0.024), (b) HP-Foam-PCM (φ = 0.949, ω = 20 PPI), (c) HP-PCM, and (d) Rod-PCM configurations

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Temperature distribution histories during solidification for the (a) HP-Foil-PCM (φ = 0.957, N = 162, t2 = 0.024), (b) HP-Foam-PCM (φ = 0.949, ω = 20 PPI), (c) HP-PCM, and (d) Rod-PCM configurations

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Temperature drop along the HP or rod in the Rod-PCM, HP-PCM and HP-Foam-PCM (φ = 0.912, ω = 20 PPI) configurations during (a) melting and (b) solidification

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Volumetric liquid fraction (left) and effectiveness (right) for the HP-Foil-PCM cases for various porosities, foil numbers, and foil thicknesses during (a) melting and (b) solidification

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Volumetric liquid fraction (left) and effectiveness (right) for HP-Foam-PCM cases with a similar porosity (0.943 < φ < 0.957) during (a) melting and (b) solidification

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Volumetric liquid fraction (left) and effectiveness (right) for HP-Foam-PCM cases for various porosities with ω = 20 PPI during (a) melting and (b) solidification

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Comparison of volumetric liquid fraction (left) and effectiveness (right) for the HP-Foil-PCM and HP-Foam-PCM configurations during (a) melting and (b) solidification

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