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Effects of the heat transfer fluid velocity on the storage characteristics of a cylindrical latent heat energy storage system: a numerical study

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A numerical study of the effects of the thermal fluid velocity on the storage characteristics of a cylindrical latent heat energy storage system (LHESS) was conducted. Due to the low thermal conductivity of phase change materials (PCMs) used in LHESS, fins were added to the system to increase the rate of heat transfer and charging. Finite elements were used to implement the developed numerical method needed to study and solve for the phase change heat transfer (melting of PCM) encountered in a LHESS during charging. The effective heat capacity method was applied in order to account for the large amount of latent energy stored during melting of the PCM and the moving interface between the solid and liquid phases. The effects of the heat transfer fluid (HTF) velocity on the melting rate of the PCM were studied for configurations having between 0 and 18 fins. Results show that the overall heat transfer rate to the PCM increases with an increase in the HTF velocity. However, the effect of the HTF velocity was observed to be small in configurations having very few fins, owing to the large residual thermal resistance offered by the PCM. However, the effect of the HTF velocity becomes more pronounced with addition of fins; since the thermal resistance on the PCM side of the LHESS is significantly reduce by the large number of fins in the system.

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C p :

Heat capacity (J kg−1 K−1)

E :

Energy (J)

k :

Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)

L :

Latent heat of fusion (J kg−1)

m :

Mass (kg)

P :

Pressure (Pa)

r :

Radius (m)

r :

Cylindrical coordinate (m)

T :

Temperature (K)

t :

Time (s)

u :

Thermal fluid velocity (m s−1)

v :

Velocity (m s−1)

X :

Solid–liquid interface position (m)

z :

Cylindrical coordinate (m)


Viscous dissipation (W m−3)


Dynamic viscosity (N s m−2)


Density (kg m−3)

n :

Normal direction

0 :


1 :

Onset of melting

2 :

End of melting





l :


l :


p :



Phase change material

r :

In the r direction

s :


s :


T :


z :

In the z direction


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Correspondence to Dominic Groulx.

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Ogoh, W., Groulx, D. Effects of the heat transfer fluid velocity on the storage characteristics of a cylindrical latent heat energy storage system: a numerical study. Heat Mass Transfer 48, 439–449 (2012).

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