Research Papers

Modeling a Phase Change Thermal Storage Device

[+] Author and Article Information
Robert Rhodes

Research Scientist
Center for Laser Applications,
University of Tennessee Space Institute,
Tullahoma, TN 37388
e-mail: brhodes@utsi.edu

Trevor Moeller

Assistant Professor
Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering,
University of Tennessee Space Institute,
Tullahoma, TN 37388
e-mail: tmoeller@utsi.edu

Manuscript received April 29, 2013; final manuscript received September 6, 2013; published online December 10, 2013. Assoc. Editor: S.A. Sherif.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 6(2), 021008 (Dec 10, 2013) (7 pages) Paper No: TSEA-13-1075; doi: 10.1115/1.4025664 History: Received April 29, 2013; Revised September 06, 2013

A numerical model of a rapid response phase change heat exchange module has been developed and challenged with experimental data taken on a flow bench with multiple temperatures and flow rates for two different phase change thermal storage devices (PTSDs). The model requires an a priori knowledge of an effective overall heat transfer coefficient. A single test was used to establish a value for an effective overall heat transfer coefficient. With this information the model will predict the power removed from a fluid being cooled to closer than 15% of the peak power and the temperature of the fluid exiting the device to within 2 °C over the entire fluid discharge temperature range. This model, developed for potential use in feedback control algorithms, requires a real-time execution speed, and this goal has been achieved with a desktop quad-core computer (four times faster than real time). While 3D models with millions of cells can provide greater resolution, the large computational resources and run times required for these simulations precludes their use as a part of feedback control algorithms.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the computational domain showing cells and direction of fluid and heat flow

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Fig. 2

Temperature distribution and melting in module c1 PCM Cell 1

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Fig. 3

Sketch of the phase change module

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Fig. 4

Schematic of the PCM module test bed design. T = temperature; P = pressure; FM = flow; PRV = pressure relief valve; PCM = phase change material thermal storage unit.

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Fig. 5

Flow and temperatures from a typical test

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Fig. 6

Comparison of experimental data and model calculations for the PCM water outlet temperature

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Fig. 7

Comparison of measured and calculated power for module 1

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Fig. 8

Comparison of measured and calculated energy for module 1

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Fig. 9

Exterior wall comparison with PCM Calculation

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Fig. 10

Calculated and experimental temperatures in the 1b module while Cooling

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Fig. 11

Calculated and experimental temperatures in the 1c module while Cooling



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