Numerical Simulation of Thermal Performance of a High Aspect Ratio Thermal Energy Storage Device Conference Paper uri icon


  • Heat transfer analysis of a high aspect ratio thermal energy storage (TES) device was carried out numerically. The three dimensional numerical study was performed to understand the heat transfer enhancement which results from internal natural convection in a high aspect ratio vertical unit. Octadecane was used as phase change material (PCM) inside TES system, which consisted of six corrugated panels filled with PCM. Each panel had a total of 6 tall cavities filled with PCM, which were exposed to external flow in a concentric TES system. Unlike traditional concentric-type TES devices where heat transfer by conduction is the dominant heat transport mechanism, the high aspect ratio TES configuration used in the study helped promote density-gradient based internal convection mechanism. The numerical model was solved based on the finite volume method, which captured the whole transient heat transfer process effectively. The time-dependent temperature profiles of the PCM inside a single TES panel are compared with the experimental results for two cases. Numerical and experimental results of the two cases showed a reasonable agreement. Furthermore, convection cells were formed and sustained when the PCM melted within the space between the solid core and the walls. The promising results of this numerical study illustrate the importance of internal natural convection on the speed of the PCM melting (charging) process.

name of conference

  • ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition

published proceedings

  • Volume 7: Fluids and Heat Transfer, Parts A, B, C, and D

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhao, J., Alvarado, J. L., Languri, E. M., & Wang, C

complete list of authors

  • Zhao, Jingde||Alvarado, Jorge L||Languri, Ehsan M||Wang, Chao

publication date

  • January 1, 2012 11:11 AM