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Research Papers

Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Shell-and-Tube Phase-Change Material Thermal Energy Storage Unit

[+] Author and Article Information
Thomas H. Sherer, II

G.W. Woodruff School
of Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332

Yogendra Joshi

G.W. Woodruff School
of Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: yogendra.joshi@me.gatech.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ELECTRONIC PACKAGING. Manuscript received January 16, 2016; final manuscript received June 27, 2016; published online July 28, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Pradip Dutta.

J. Electron. Packag 138(3), 031008 (Jul 28, 2016) (10 pages) Paper No: EP-16-1014; doi: 10.1115/1.4034101 History: Received January 16, 2016; Revised June 27, 2016

Solid liquid phase-change materials (PCMs) present a promising approach for reducing data center cooling costs. We review prior research in this area. A shell-and-tube PCM thermal energy storage (TES) unit is then analyzed numerically and experimentally. The tube bank is filled with commercial paraffin RUBITHERM RT 28 HC PCM, which melts as the heat transfer fluid (HTF) flows across the tubes. A fully implicit one-dimensional control volume formulation that utilizes the enthalpy method for phase change has been developed to determine the transient temperature distributions in both the PCM and the tubes themselves. The energy gained by a column of tubes is used to determine the exit bulk HTF temperature from that column, ultimately leading to an exit HTF temperature from the TES unit. This paper presents a comparison of the numerical and experimental results for the transient temperature profiles of the PCM-filled tubes and HTF.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

PCM TES unit within data center flow loop

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Fig. 2

Control volumes and radial positioning of nodes and interfaces

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Fig. 3

Single cylinder model with convective boundary condition

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Fig. 4

Control volumes within TES unit for global energy balance

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Fig. 5

Control volumes for coupling PCM-filled tube model with HTF

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Fig. 6

Experimental setup

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Fig. 7

Experimental system

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Fig. 8

Thermocouple placement within tube bank: solid circles represent tubes with a thermocouple placed at tube center and striped circles represent tubes with a thermocouple placed at tube center and a thermocouple on tube surface

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Fig. 9

HTF outlet temperature—varying flow rates

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Fig. 10

Experimental outlet temperature—varying flow rates

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Fig. 11

HTF outlet temperature—varying inlet temperatures

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Fig. 12

Experimental outlet temperature—varying inlet temperatures

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Fig. 13

Temperature profiles of copper tube and PCM center

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Fig. 14

HTF temperature profiles in a 100 column tube bank

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