Skip to main content

Solidification Thermal Behavior of Fin Heat Exchanger with Phase Change Material for Electric Vehicle Thermal Management


In recent years, EVs have attracted considerable attention as eco-friendly vehicles. Owing to a significant decrease in fuel economy during the winter season, heat pump technology is currently being applied for EVs in lieu of the standard electric heater option. However, heat pumps need to defrost periodically due to the accumulation of frost on the heat exchanger’s outer surface, which compromises the security of the heat source as well as system efficiency. The proposed PCM module has a double-tube structure chargeable either from the heat pump through waste heat, or from the battery through the liquid line, during normal operation. As opposed to the electric heater, which reduces fuel economy during heat pump defrosting, the PCM module is proposed for cabin heating by air. The effectiveness of the unique inner fins located in the PCM is proven by CFD analysis, and the solidification thermal behavior is measured for a test section using C20H42 (Icosane). A one-dimensional thermal model with an accuracy of ± 1 °C is proposed to estimate the air outlet temperature and heat capacity over time during heat discharging, as a basis for future investigation of fuel economy improvement using the PCM module at vehicle level.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.



area, m2


constant, -


cubic meter per minute, m3/min

Cp :

specific heat, kI/kg·K


latent heat, kJ/kg

PL :

longitudinal tube picth, mm

PT :

transverse tube pitch, mm


temperature, °C or K


overall heat transfer coefficient, W/m2·K


diameter, mm

fp :

fin pitch, mm

ft :

fin thickness, mm


convection heat transfer coefficient, W/m2·K


length, mm


heat transfer rate, W


time, sec


velocity, m/s


thermal conductivity, W/m·K


dynamic viscosity, kg/ms


density, kg/m3












phase change material


  • Dong, J., Deng, S., Jiang, Y., Xia, L. and Yao, Y. (2012). An experimental study on defrosting heat supplies and energy consumptions during a reverse cycle defrost operation for an air source heat pump. Applied Thermal Engineering, 37, 380–387.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fujii, I. and Yano, N. (1996). A consideration on phase change behavior of latent heat storage material. Trans.-Society of Heating Air Conditioning and Sanitary Engineers of Japan, 21, 123–130.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lee, D. (2015). Experimental study on the heat pump system using R134a refrigerant for zero-emission vehicles. Int. J. Automotive Technology 16, 6, 923–928.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pongsoi, P., Pikulkajorn, S. and Wongwises, S. (2014). Heat transfer and flow characteristic of spiral fin-and-tube heat exchangers: A review. Int. J. Heat and Mass Transfer, 79, 417–431.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Umezu, K. and Noyama, H. (2010). Air-conditioning system for electric vehicle (i-MiEV). SAE Automotive Refrigerant & System Efficiency Symp.

  • Vélez, C., Khayet, M. and Ortiz de Zárate, J. M. (2015). Temperature-dependent thermal properties of solid/liquid phase change even-numbered n-alkanes: n-Hexadecane, n-octadecane and n-eicosane. Applied Energy, 143, 383–394.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang, M., Wolfe, E., Craig, T., Laciair, T., Abdelaziz, O. and Gao, Z. (2016). Design and testing of a thermal storage system for electric vehicle cabin heating. SAE Paper No. 2016-01-0248.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chaobin Dang.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kim, H.S., Hihara, E. & Dang, C. Solidification Thermal Behavior of Fin Heat Exchanger with Phase Change Material for Electric Vehicle Thermal Management. Int.J Automot. Technol. 23, 257–264 (2022).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key Words

  • Phase change material
  • Heat pump
  • Heat exchanger
  • Thermal management
  • Electric vehicle