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Investigation of enclosure aspect ratio effects on melting heat transfer characteristics of metal foam/phase change material composites

Amin Samimi Behbahan (Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran)
Aminreza Noghrehabadi (Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran)
C.P. Wong (Georgia Institute of Technology College of Engineering, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Ioan Pop (Universitatea Babes Bolyai Facultatea de Matematica si Informatica, Cluj-Napoca, Rumania)
Morteza Behbahani-Nejad (Faculty of Engineering, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran)

International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow

ISSN: 0961-5539

Article publication date: 28 June 2019

Issue publication date: 11 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study thermal performance of metal foam/phase change materials composite under the influence of the enclosure aspect ratios (ratio of enclosure height: length). In this study, a compound metal foam/phase change material (PCM), which has been proved to be one of the most promising approaches for thermal conductivity promotion on PCMs, was used.

Design/methodology/approach

The PCM is considered initially at its melting temperature. The enclosure for all the cases has a constant volume with various aspect ratios. The left side of the enclosure is suddenly exposed to a thermal source having a constant heat flux, while the other three surfaces are kept thermally insulated. A two-dimensional numerical model considering the non-equilibrium thermal factor, non-Darcy effect and local natural convection was proposed. The coupling between velocity and pressure is solved using the SIMPLEC, and the Rhie and Chow interpolation is used to avoid the checker-board solutions for the pressure.

Findings

The effects of foam porosity and aspect ratio of the enclosure on the PCM’s melting time were investigated. The results indicated that enclosure aspect ratio plays a fundamental role in phase change of copper foam/PCM composites. For higher porosities, enclosures with bigger aspect ratios proved to led to optimal melting time. Besides, the best enclosure aspect ratio and foam porosity for a fixed-volume enclosure to have the shortest melting time are 2.1 and 91.66 per cent, respectively. However, for a specific amount of PCM inside a variable volume enclosure, the optimal melting time was for foam with ε = 95 per cent. The achieved results prove the great importance of selection of aspect ratio to benefit both conduction and convection heat transfer simultaneously.

Originality/value

The area of energy storage systems is original.

Keywords

Citation

Samimi Behbahan, A., Noghrehabadi, A., Wong, C.P., Pop, I. and Behbahani-Nejad, M. (2019), "Investigation of enclosure aspect ratio effects on melting heat transfer characteristics of metal foam/phase change material composites", International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow, Vol. 29 No. 9, pp. 2994-3011. https://doi.org/10.1108/HFF-11-2018-0659

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited