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Natural Convection Driven Melting of Phase Change Material: Comparison of Two Methods

D. Groulx[1], F. Samara[1], P.H. Biwole[2]
[1]Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
[2]Department of Mathematics and Interactions, University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Nice, France

Design of latent heat energy storage systems (LHESS) requires knowledge of heat transfer processes within them, as well as the phase change behavior of the phase change material (PCM) use. COMSOL Multiphysics can be used to model (LHESS). Natural convection plays a crucial role during the charging phase of the LHESS, and methods to incorporate this heat transfer mode within COMSOL simulation of PCM melting have been underway for quite some time. This paper presents a comparison between two such related methods, which are both treating the PCM as a liquid regardless of its actual phase; but are using added function to “solidify” this liquid when the PCM is below its melting temperature. Tests were conducted using COMSOL Multiphysics 4.3.