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Energies 2017, 10(8), 1129; doi:10.3390/en10081129

Investigation of the Dynamic Melting Process in a Thermal Energy Storage Unit Using a Helical Coil Heat Exchanger

National Centre for International Research of Low-Carbon and Green Buildings, Ministry of Science & Technology, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400045, China
Joint International Research Laboratory of Green Buildings and Built Environments, Ministry of Education, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400045, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Technologies for Buildings)
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In this study, the dynamic melting process of the phase change material (PCM) in a vertical cylindrical tube-in-tank thermal energy storage (TES) unit was investigated through numerical simulations and experimental measurements. To ensure good heat exchange performance, a concentric helical coil was inserted into the TES unit to pipe the heat transfer fluid (HTF). A numerical model using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach was developed based on the enthalpy-porosity method to simulate the unsteady melting process including temperature and liquid fraction variations. Temperature measurements using evenly spaced thermocouples were conducted, and the temperature variation at three locations inside the TES unit was recorded. The effects of the HTF inlet parameters were investigated by parametric studies with different temperatures and flow rate values. Reasonably good agreement was achieved between the numerical prediction and the temperature measurement, which confirmed the numerical simulation accuracy. The numerical results showed the significance of buoyancy effect for the dynamic melting process. The system TES performance was very sensitive to the HTF inlet temperature. By contrast, no apparent influences can be found when changing the HTF flow rates. This study provides a comprehensive solution to investigate the heat exchange process of the TES system using PCM. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal energy storage; helical coil heat exchanger; phase change material; heat transfer fluid; CFD thermal energy storage; helical coil heat exchanger; phase change material; heat transfer fluid; CFD

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Yang, X.; Xiong, T.; Dong, J.L.; Li, W.X.; Wang, Y. Investigation of the Dynamic Melting Process in a Thermal Energy Storage Unit Using a Helical Coil Heat Exchanger. Energies 2017, 10, 1129.

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