Use of Phase Change Materials for Solar Systems Applications
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In this research the use of multiple phase change materials (PCM) for the heat management of solar panels was investigated. The research mainly focused on setting up accurate CFD models in ANSYS fluent of various designed systems. Two different types of containers were designed, the first one being a container with honeycomb compartments to separate the different PCMs and the second was a container with circular compartments. The method used to simulate the models in ANSYS fluent was validated by conducting an in-lab experiment. Experimental results were compared to the numerical results and the accuracy was found to be sufficient. In total, two different sets of PCMs were used to conduct the investigation, the first one being composed of capric–lauric, capric acid and paraffin–micronal and the second set being composed of the following industrial PCMs: organic-a17, organic-a24 and organic-b28. In total four models were simulated in ANSYS, the first model being the honeycomb (HC) structured container made of steel with the first set of PCMs, the second model being the HC container made of steel with the second set of PCMs, the third model being the HC container made of aluminium with the second set of PCMs and finally the last model being the circular container made of steel with the second set of PCMs.
It was found that the HC container with the second set of PCMs when both made of steel or aluminium had the quicker solidification and melting process. Overall, these two processes occur at higher rates when using multiple phase change materials than when using a single one.
KeywordsPhase change materials CFD Models Paraffin–micronal ANSYS