Applying a well-performing heat exchanger is an efficient way to fortify the relatively low thermal response of phase-change materials (PCMs), which have broad application prospects in the fields of thermal management and energy storage. In this study, an improved PCM melting and solidification in corrugated (zigzag) plate heat exchanger are numerically examined compared with smooth (flat) plate heat exchanger in both horizontal and vertical positions. The effects of the channel width (0.5 W, W, and 2 W) and the airflow temperature (318 K, 323 K, and 328 K) are exclusively studied and reported. The results reveal the much better performance of the horizontal corrugated configuration compared with the smooth channel during both melting and solidification modes. It is found that the melting rate is about 8% faster, and the average temperature is 4 K higher in the corrugated region compared with the smooth region because of the large heat-exchange surface area, which facilitates higher rates of heat transfer into the PCM channel. In addition to the higher performance, a more compact unit can be achieved using the corrugated system. Moreover, applying the half-width PCM channel accelerates the melting rate by eight times compared to the double-width channel. Meanwhile, applying thicker channels provides faster solidification rates. The melting rate is proportional to the airflow temperature. The PCM melts within 274 s when the airflow temperature is 328 K. However, the melting time increases to 460 s for the airflow temperature of 308 K. Moreover, the PCM solidifies in 250 s and 405 s in the cases of 318 K and 328 K airflow temperatures, respectively.
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