Employing phase change materials (PCMs) for latent heat storage (LHS) application has a great potential to improve a solar thermal system performance. Despite this fact, the use of PCM in this area is quite limited due to the poor thermal conductivity of available PCMs. Therefore, heat transfer enhancement is one of the essential strategies that can overcome this obstacle. In this paper and related project, a PCM heat exchanger (HX) is purposely designed with spiral-wired tubes and integrated in an indirect solar assisted heat pump test system. Although the spiral-wired tube has not been applied in a PCM HX, it is expected to enhance significantly the PCM heat transfer and heat storage performance. To verify this and understand the PCM heat storage and releasement processes, a detailed 3D CFD model has been developed for the PCM HX and validated with measurements. The temperature variations and visualizations of the PCM during charging and discharging processes are therefore simulated and presented temporally. Furthermore, the effects of different inlet heat transfer fluid flow rates and temperatures on the PCM melting/solidification time are demonstrated in this study. Some significant simulation results have been obtained which can instruct efficiently the operation of the heat exchanger and its integration with the solar system.
- CFD modelling
- Model validation and application
- PCM heat exchanger
- Solar assisted heat pump