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Modeling Convection during Melting of a Phase Change Material

D. Groulx, and R. Murray
Mechanical Engineering
Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS

COMSOL Multiphysics can be used to model a latent heat energy storage system. A 2D numerical study was performed to simulate melting of a PCM including both conduction and convective heat transfer. The heat transfer in fluids and laminar flow physics interfaces were used. To model natural convection, proper volume force was applied to the PCM. The viscosity was input as a piecewise, continuous second derivative function that accounted for the viscosity of the liquid PCM in the melted region and forced the solid PCM to remain fixed.

Natural convection was observed as the melted PCM rose to the top of the container and began circulating, modifying the solid-liquid interface.