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Aluminum Inserts for Enhancing Heat Transfer in PCM Accumulator

Chair of Lightweight Elements Engineering, Foundry and Automation, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Wybrzeze Wyspianskiego 27, 50-370, Wroclaw, Poland
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Materials 2020, 13(2), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13020415
Received: 17 December 2019 / Revised: 5 January 2020 / Accepted: 14 January 2020 / Published: 16 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage)
Phase change materials (PCMs) are applied in heat storage units, as they are able to accumulate the energy in the form of the latent heat of fusion. Thus, they can be used in recovering the excess of heat from various industrial processes. Their main weakness is their low thermal conductivity coefficient, which strongly limits their usage. In this paper, the benefits of the application of metallic inserts in heat storage PCM-based units were elaborated. Two kinds of Al–Si spatial elements (foams and honeycomb structures) were produced with the use of means of the investment casting method. Key factors influencing the technological process were established. The surface’s roughness was measured in order to compare the obtained structures with their patterns in terms of the casting’s accuracy. The compressive strength of the samples was tested, and their fatigue resistance was considered. The thermal performance of manufactured inserts in the PCM (paraffin)-based accumulator, supported by the calculation of heat fluxes, was analyzed and adjusted. Finally, further optimization was conducted in terms of the volume ratio of the metal insert to the PCM. Metallic inserts were found to significantly affect the performance of the entire energy storage system, as their use results in reduced charging time, a longer heat release time, increased maximum temperature, and a significant reduction in the temperature gradient in the heat storage unit. View Full-Text
Keywords: investment casting; heat transfer; energy storage; PCM; metallic foam; honeycomb structure investment casting; heat transfer; energy storage; PCM; metallic foam; honeycomb structure
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Dmitruk, A.; Naplocha, K.; Grzęda, J.; Kaczmar, J.W. Aluminum Inserts for Enhancing Heat Transfer in PCM Accumulator. Materials 2020, 13, 415.

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