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Energies 2018, 11(8), 2017; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11082017

An Experimental Investigation of Thermal Characteristics of Phase Change Material Applied to Improve the Isothermal Operation of a Refrigerator

1
Department of Mechanical System & Automotive Engineering, Graduate School of Chosun University, 303 Pilmum-Daero, Dong-gu, Gwangju 61452, Korea
2
School of Mechanical System & Automotive Engineering, Chosun University, 303 Pilmum-Daero, Dong-gu, Gwangju 61452, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Storage and Application)
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Abstract

We investigated the thermal performance of a refrigerator with a functional duct unit (FDU) which was charged with a phase change material (PCM) and designed to replace the existing expandable polystyrene (EPS) duct unit. Since the performance of the FDU is dependent upon the thermal characteristics of the PCM, the eutectic water–salt solution as the PCM was prepared and tested to optimize the thermal characteristics. The thermal properties of the PCM were examined by the T-history method. When the PCM contained 1 wt.% eutectic molten salt compounds, the phase change temperature was approximately −0.5 °C, the supercooling temperature was approximately −2.9 °C, and the latent heat was 304.9 kJ/kg. Compared with other PCMs of different eutectic molten salt concentrations, this PCM was found to have the most appropriate thermal properties for the FDU. Therefore, the PCM with 1 wt.% eutectic molten salt compounds was used in the FDU, which was installed in a 200 L top-mounted freezer (TMF). For a quantitative comparison of the operational performance, an FDU and an EPS duct were installed alternately in a refrigerator operated under the same conditions and analyzed in terms of internal temperature variation and operational characteristics. When the EPS duct was replaced by the FDU, the temperature deviation measured during a defrosting operation was observed to become smaller. Moreover, during a power outage, the refrigerator with the FDU released heat owing to the phase change of the PCM, thereby preventing temperature rise inside the refrigerator. View Full-Text
Keywords: phase change material; functional duct unit; eutectic molten salt compounds; thermal properties; T-history method phase change material; functional duct unit; eutectic molten salt compounds; thermal properties; T-history method
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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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Lee, S.-J.; Park, S.-H. An Experimental Investigation of Thermal Characteristics of Phase Change Material Applied to Improve the Isothermal Operation of a Refrigerator. Energies 2018, 11, 2017.

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