Stefan's Problem: Validation of a One-Dimensional Solid-Liquid Phase Change Heat Transfer Process

D. Groulx, and W. Ogoh
Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

A 1D phase change problem, known as Stefan’s problem, for which analytical solutions are available, is solved as a 2D problem using COMSOL Multiphysics. The PCM medium is semi-infinite, initially solid at its melting temperature Tm, and at t = 0, the wall temperature is raised to Tw > Tm, prompting the PCM to start melting, from pure conduction, in a linear fashion starting at x = 0. The length of the system is taken as 0.28 m, which by being 4 times as long as the area affected by melting during the simulation, conserves the semi-infinite nature of the system. It is 0.1 m high, making the behavior of the system along the centerline nearly 1D. The PCM (paraffin wax) is initially at its melting temperature of 313 K and the left wall temperature is set at 350 K at the start of the simulation; the other walls are all insulated.

Results are in good agreement with the analytical solution, except for a discrepancy that starts to be noticeable after 6 simulated hours.