Research Papers

Assessment of T-History Method Variants to Obtain Enthalpy–Temperature Curves for Phase Change Materials With Significant Subcooling

[+] Author and Article Information
Katherine D’Avignon

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Polytechnique Montreal,
Montreal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada
e-mail: katherine.davignon@polymtl.ca

Michaël Kummert

Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Polytechnique Montreal,
Montreal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received January 24, 2015; final manuscript received July 10, 2015; published online September 10, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Bengt Sunden.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 7(4), 041015 (Sep 10, 2015) (9 pages) Paper No: TSEA-15-1030; doi: 10.1115/1.4031220 History: Received January 24, 2015; Revised July 10, 2015

To assess the potential of thermal energy storage systems using phase change materials (PCMs), numerical simulations rely on an enthalpy–temperature curve (or equivalent specific heat curve) to model the PCM thermal storage behavior. The so-called “T-history method” can be used to obtain an enthalpy–temperature curve (H versus T) through conventional laboratory equipment and a simple experimental procedure. Different data processing variants of the T-history method have been proposed yet no systematic comparison between these versions exists in the literature nor is there a consensus as to which should be used to obtain reliable enthalpy–temperature curves. In this paper, an inorganic salt hydrate is tested in both heating and cooling. Four different data processing variants of the T-history method are used to characterize the PCM and produce enthalpy–temperature curves for this original experimental data set. Differences in the results produced by the different methods are discussed, the issues encountered are indicated, and possible approaches to overcome these problems are provided. A specific variant is recommended when using the T-history method to determine enthalpy–temperature curves. For PCMs that exhibit subcooling, an alternative interpretation using an absolute temperature interval is described so that the subcooling phase is taken into account in the enthalpy–temperature curve.

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Fig. 1

T-history method experimental setup

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Fig. 2

Temperature evolution during a full cycle of the T-history experimental procedure

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Fig. 3

T-history data from six of the PCM samples tested for the third cooling and heating cycle

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Fig. 4

Division of the T-history curves following the method Z for (a) the reference sample and (b) the PCM sample

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Fig. 5

T-history curve of PCM sample indicating two alternate ways of treating subcooling in method M

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Fig. 6

Enthalpy–temperature curves resulting from the method presented by method M according to the way subcooling is treated

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Fig. 7

Comparison of enthalpy–temperature curves for every PCM sample, for both heating and cooling tests for method M

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Fig. 8

Comparison of enthalpy–temperature curves for every PCM sample by method SR

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Fig. 9

Method K for (a) the reference sample and (b) the PCM sample

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Fig. 10

Effective specific heat curve as a function of temperature for sample K19, calculated with method K using a 10 s time interval for (a) heating and (b) cooling process data

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Fig. 11

Enthalpy as a function of temperature for all samples, as per method K, for both heating and cooling processes

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Fig. 12

Enthalpy–temperature curves produced by method M (with absolute temperature interval), method K, and method SR for all PCM samples, from both cooling and heating test data



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