Pore-Scale modeling of thermal energy storage materials experiencing pulse heating.

posted Jul 3, 2013, 10:12 AM by Galen Jackson   [ updated Jul 3, 2013, 10:17 AM ]
Student: Galen Jackson
Faculty: Timothy S. Fisher
Sponsor: Air Force Research Laboratory
Summary: Rapidly changing surface heat loads on thermal energy storage units require new methods to calculate the temperature response inside the unit, specifically a carbon based foam filled with a phase change material (PCM). Typical thermal energy storage models are composite in nature and involve a mass fraction comparison of the foam and PCM to determine the temperature inside a section of the unit. The new model currently in development separates the foam and PCM into two separate entities.  The foam is districtized into one-dimensional rectangular nodes while the PCM assumed to be spherical pores inside the foam node. The PCM is districtized into nodes and the enthalpy inside each pore is used to determine if a node of the PCM is solid, melting, or liquid. The foam and PCM interact with each other through heat transfer from the foam into the PCM. We anticipate the new model will allow for scenarios in which both liquid and sold stages of a PCM can be accounted for in one section of a thermal energy storage unit.