Investigation of natural convection effect on thermal response of annular PCM energy storage unit

T. Wei1, D. Yanxia1, G. Yewei1 and H. Lixin1

1China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center, Mianyang, Sichuan, P.R. China

Keywords: energy storage
property: natural convection
material: phase-change material

Phase-change material(PCM) energy storage technology have been widely used in the fields of aerospace, application of solar energy and infrared camouflage due to it's advantages of storing a large amount of energy in a small mass/volume, phase change at constant temperature and easy to control. With the advent of higher power density electronics, PCM’s have been explored for electronics thermal management more recently. This paper investigated the heat transfer characteristics of annular energy storage unit composed of organic PCM for electronic devices by performing experimental and numerical analyses. A rigorous analysis, including the effects of natural convection in the melt was performed in this work. The influence of the unit size, heat source location, type of PCM, as well as the boundary condition on the thermal performance of the heat storage unit was investigated. It was found that natural convection plays a very significant role in the performance of the PCM energy storage unit considered. Among the configurations investigated, the PCM unit with heat sources located on the inner wall had the better thermal performance, with a higher rate of melting and heat absorption. It would be beneficial to enhance the thermal response of the PCM energy storage unit to better handle and control the natural convection by optimizing the heating location and the main parameters.

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