Study of heat transfer characteristics and numerical method for phase-change thermal control unit

D. Yanxia1, G. Yewei1, Z. Lina2 and Y. Mingxing2

1China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center, Mianyang, Sichuan, P.R. China
2Beijing Institute of Nearspace Vehicle’s Systems Engineering, Beijing, P.R. China

Keywords: thermal control system
property: heat transfer
material: phase-change, enthalpy-porosity method

The thermal control system is essentially conceived to ensure that all equipments on the aircraft are maintained within allowed temperature ranges during all mission phases, which is becoming an imperative consideration for future aircraft with the increasement of power and heat flux in avionics. The objective of the study was to investigate the mechanisms and heat transfer characteristics of phase-change thermal control unit during the flight. Considering the conduction in the solid and natural convection in the liquid, the physical and mathmatical model for the heat transfer was formulated. The governing conservation equations were solved using the finite-volume method on orthogonal rectangular grids. An enthalpy-porosity method was used for modeling the melting phenomena of phase-change thermal control unit. The time and space movement of the phase-change front, the temperature distribution, and the heat dissipation rate has been analyzed based on the model. This model and numerical method was evaluated by comparing the numerical predictions with the experimental results. There was found to be excellent agreement between the calculation and experiment, indicating the enthalpy-porosity method for phase change simulation is accurate. The results from the analysis elucidate the thermal performance of phase-change thermal control unit and will provide the bases to the design and optimization of thermal control unit.

  1. Wu Bin, Xing Yuming. Numerical investigation of phase change thermal control unit for portable electronic devices. Journal of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2010, 36(11):1330-1334.

  2. V. R.Voller, M Cross. Accurate Solutions of Moving Boundary Problems Using the Enthalpy Method. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 1981, 24(3):545-556.

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