Applied Energy, Vol.225, 585-599, 2018
Thermal and economic analysis of charging and discharging characteristics of composite phase change materials for cold storage
This study conducted both experimental and numerical investigations on the solidification behavior in a metal foam composite phase change material (PCM) for cold storage. Volume-average-method was adopted with the help of Forchheimer-Darcy equation to model the fluid flow through porous media. Experimental measurements were performed to validate the analytical model and the numerical method, with good agreement achieved. Local thermal equilibrium and non-equilibrium states were justified numerically and experimentally. Effect of pore morphological parameters (porosity and pore density) upon the solidification features of composite PCM were investigated. For the appliance of composite PCM to cold storage, techno-economic characteristics was also assessed. Results demonstrated that the full solidification time for metal foams with a porosity of 0.93 and 0.97 can be saved 87.5% and 76.7% respectively compared with pure water. It indicated that porosity of metal foam played a dominant role in heat transfer enhancement; while pore density seemed to have little influence on phase change behavior according to the results. Local natural convection in the unsolidified phase caused a remarkable promotion of the interface evolution, and the full solidification time with natural convection considered can be saved by 14.3% compared with pure conduction for the case with the same porosity of 0.97. The economic analyses indicated that using composite PCM was profitable with a short payback period less than 2 years.