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International Journal of Engineering Research

Volume No.5, Issue No.4, pp : 332-339

ISSN:2319-6890)(online),2347-5013(print)
1 April 2016

CFD Simulation for Charging and Discharging Process of Thermal Energy


Storage System using Phase Change Material
Gali Chiranjeevi Naidu, KAruna, K Dharma Reddy,P V Ramaiah
Department of mechanical engineering, SV University College of engineering, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India
chiru.10081991@gmail.com, aruna_@yahoo.com, kdharmareddy@gmail.com, pvramaiah@gmail.com
Abstract:A Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)f o r
thermal
storage
system
by
keeping
Phase
ChangeMaterial(PCM)inthecapsules has been developed and
validated with experimental results.The thermal energy storage
tank was developed using capsules in a unique arrangement
during the charging and discharging processes. Different
shape of capsules have been used forSimulation
ofthermalstoragesystemand analysisiscarriedoutonthesystem.
The CFD results confirmed the importance of mutual effects on
the performance of thermal energy storage tank and showed
that an appropriately designed storage tank can provide
improved stratification conditions. The 3D transient CFD
simulations can be used as an effective tool to optimise thermal
storage tank parameters at early design stages, thus it may add
to the value of the storage tank performance and efficiency, by
optimising the whole solar thermal energy storage system design
and size. T h i s m o d e l e n d e a v o u r e d t o d e s c r i b e b o t h
freezing and melting
processes of PCM.
Sincethesystemisusedfor
domesticapplication,thetemperatureofwater is to bemaintained
at
600C
so
forwhich
Sodium
thiosulfate
pentahydrate(Na2S2O35H2O)are used as PCM in cylindrical
tank with three types of capsules in this paper.
Keywords:Thermal energy storage tank, PhaseChangematerial,
Computational FluidDynamics(FLUENT)
1.Introduction
Theincreasinglevelsofgreenhousegas
emissionsandthedepletion of fossil fuels arethe main driving
factors behindefforts
to
effectivelyutilizevarioussourcesofrenewable
energy.
Theworldislookingforanalternative
todecreaseenvironmentalpollutionasithas
emergedasthemostimportantproblemofthis
century.Directsolarradiationisconsideredto
beoneofthemostpotentialsourcesof
energyasitiswidelyavailableinallpartsof
theworld.Itisoneoftheoldestanda
renewableenergysource.Oneoftheoptionsis
todevelopenergystoragedevices,whichcan
easilybeconvertedintotherequired
form.Energystoragenotonlyreducesthe
mismatchbetweensupplyanddemandbutalso
improvestheperformanceandreliabilityof
energysystemsandplaysanimportantrolein
conservingtheenergy.Itleadstosavingof
premiumfuelsandmakesthesystemmorecost
effectivebyreducingthewastageofenergyand capital cost.
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Oneoftheproposedtechniquesof
storingthermalenergyistheapplicationof
phasechangematerials(PCMs).Thermalenergy
storagecanbestoredasachangeininternal
energyofamaterialassensibleheat,latentheat and thermo chemical
ora combination of these.
The demand and supply gap for energy sources is
widening day by day. Hot water plays a very important role in
human society. It is used for various applications in the day-today human life. . The utility of hot water covers various
applications which can be categorized under three main sectors,
viz., and domestic, commercial and industrial.
Inspiteofitslowefficiencyithasa
placeamongtheenergyconsumers.Therefore
anyimprovementintheconstructionand
operationofsolarwaterheatingsystemwould
definitelyresultinsavingconventionalfuelandcost.Inrecentyears,va
riousconventionalandunconventionalmaterialsareinvestigatedfor
theircapabilitytostorethermalenergy.Oneof
themarephasechangematerials(PCM).It
providesaneffectivewayofaccumulating
thermalenergy,duetotheirhighcapacityto
storeheatataconstantorneartoconstant
temperature.PhaseChangeMaterials(PCM)is
latentheatstoragematerials.Asthesource
temperaturerises,thechemicalbondswithin
thePCMbreakupasthematerialchanges
phasefromsolidtoliquid(asisthecasefor
solidliquidPCMs,whichareofparticular
interesthere).Thephasechangeisaheatseeking(endothermic)processandtherefore,
thePCMabsorbsheat.Uponstoringheatinthe
storagematerial,thematerialbeginstomeltwhenthephasechangetem
peratureisreached.
Thetemperaturethenstaysconstantuntilthe
meltingprocessisfinished.Theheatstored
duringthephasechangeprocess(melting process) of thematerial is
calledlatentheat.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a powerful
tool for fluid dynamics and thermal design in industrial
applications as well as in academic research activities.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is the use of computers
and numerical techniques to solve problems involving fluid
flow. CFD has been successfully applied in a huge number of
areas, including many of interest to civil engineers.
2.

SelectionofPCM
Solid-liquid PCMs are useful because they store a
relatively large quantity of energy over a narrow temperature
range, without a corresponding large volume change and currently

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International Journal of Engineering Research


Volume No.5, Issue No.4, pp : 332-339
appear to be of greatest practical value. A good design of latent
thermal energy storage requires the knowledge of PCM and the
latent exchange process especially the melting and solidification
process.
3. PCM Used
The temperature of water to be stored as domestic hot-water is
about 60 0C. so it should maintain temperature in between 50 to
60.In the market, different PCMs with this melting temperature
can be found. Experiments with Sodium thiosulfate
pentahydrate, sodium acetate trihydrate and even fatty acids
have been carried out. In this paper Sodium thiosulfate
pentahydrate(Na2S2O3 5H2O) is used as PCM, whose melting
temperature is 48C.Properties of and Sodium thiosulfate
pentahydrate(Na2S2O3 5H2O) is as shown below.
Table3.1

4. Thermal Energy Storage System


4.1 Experimental Setup
A schematic diagram of the experimental set-up is
shown in Figure 4.1. This consists of an insulated cylindrical TES
tank, which contains PCM stored in cylindrical, spherical, and
square capsules, flow meter and water storage tank. The stainless
steel TES tank has a capacity of 10 liters. A flow distributor is
provided on the top of the tank to make uniform flow of HTF.
The storage tank is insulated with glass wool of 25 mm thick. The
PCM capsules of different shapes are uniformly packed in the
storage tank.

ISSN:2319-6890)(online),2347-5013(print)
1 April 2016
temperature water storage tank and the HTF inlet temperature
(THTF) is kept constant for a particular flow rate. The temperature
of the water storage tank is continuously monitored. The key
experimental parameters are HTF inlet temperature, flow rate of
HTF and PCM capsule shapes is stored as given below.
Spherical capsule
: 62mm, T=2mm, stainless steel
Cylindrical capsule :L=25mm, T=2mm. stainless steel
Square capsule
:L=25mm and H=100mm and T=2mm, stainless steel
Mass flow rates
: 2 lit/min
HTF inlet temperatures:60C (constant temperature source)
Storage Tank Dimensions:Height=150mm, Diameter=300mm, Thickness=2mm
Storage tank capacity
:10 liters
Storage tank Material
:Stainless steel
Storage tank insulation :25mm Thickness Glass wool

The energy is stored inside the capsules as sensible heat


and latent heat. As the charging process proceeds, energy storage
increases until it reaches the equilibrium position (i.e., HTF
temperature = PCM temperature). Temperature of PCM (T PCM)
and HTF (THTF) in the TES tank is recorded at an interval of 2
minutes. The charging process is continued until the PCM
temperature comes in equilibrium with the temperature of HTF
in the TES tank.
Table 4.1 Time - temperature history for different PCM
capsule shapes in charging process
Capsule
shape

Cylindrical
capsule

Spherical
capsule

Square
capsule

Figure4.1. Schematic diagram of Experimental set-up


1. Electric heater 2. Constant temperature bath (water storage
tank)
3&8. Flow control valves 4. Flow meter
5.Distributer
6.TESTank
7.PCM capsules 9.
Outlet tank
10. Digital thermometer
4.2 Experimental Trial
The experiments are carried out on the basis Taguchi
design obtained from Minitab software.
4.2.1
Charging Process
The experiments are carried out for charging
process. In this process, the TES tank is integrated with constant
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Time ( min )

Temperature of PCM
(TPCM)(oC)

25

2
4
6
8
10
12
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20

36
47
50
54
57
60
25
32.7
36
38
42
45
48.2
50.3
53.7
57
60

25

38.6

46.3

48.2

53.2

10

56

12

57.9

14

60

Figure 4.2. Effect of Charging Time on Different Capsule


Shapes

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Volume No.5, Issue No.4, pp : 332-339

Discharging Process
The discharging process starts after the completion of
charging process. Batch wise discharging experiments are
carried out as explained below. In this method 2 liters of hot
water is discharged from the thermal energy storage (TES) tank
and the same quantity of cold water at 25C is fed into TES tank
in each batch. The average temperature of the collected
discharge water in the bucket is measured using a digital
thermometer. The time difference between the consequent
discharges is 20 min. The batch wise withdrawing of hot water is
continued till the temperature of the outlet water reaches room
Temperature.
The variation of HTF and PCM temperature during
discharging process (Heat recovery) is reported. A comparative
study is also made between the conventional SHS system and
combined storage system.

ISSN:2319-6890)(online),2347-5013(print)
1 April 2016

4.2.2

Table 4.2 Time temperature values for different PCM


capsules in discharging process
Capsule shape

Cylindrical capsule

Spherical capsule

Square capsule

Time (min)
00
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
00
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
00
20
40
60
80
100
120

Temperature of discharged
water( Tw) (oC)
60
53.2
47.4
41
37.8
34.8
31.8
28
60
57.4
53.3
50.7
47.3
43.2
40
37.8
34.5
30.2
27
60
55.6
50.5
44.6
40.1
35.5
32

Figure 4.3. Effect of discharging time on different capsule


shapes

5. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Analysis


CFD is concerned with obtaining numerical solution to fluid
flow problems by using computers. The advent of high-speed
and large-memory computers has enabled CFD to obtain
solutions to many flow problems including those that are
compressible or incompressible, laminar or turbulent, chemically
reacting or non-reacting.CFD is the science of predicting fluid
flow, heat and mass transfer, chemical reactions, and related
phenomena by solving numerically the set of governing
mathematical equations like Conservation of mass, momentum,
energy, species, etc.
The results of CFD analyses are relevant in:
1 Conceptual studies ofnewdesigns.
2 Detailed product development.
3 Troubleshooting
4 Redesign
The equations governing the fluid flow problem are the
continuity conservation of mass), the Navier-Stokes
(conservation of momentum), and the energy equations. Because
of the non-linear terms in these equations, analytical methods
can yield very few solutions.
CFD is the art of replacing the differential equation
governing the Fluid Flow, with a set of algebraic equations (the
process is called discretisation), which in turn can be solved with
the aid of a digital computer to get an approximate solution.
There are several unique advantages of CFD over experimentbased approaches to fluid system design:
a. Substantial reduction of lead times and costs of new
design.
b. Ability to study systems where controlled experiments
are difficult or impossible to perform.
c. Ability to study system hazardous conditions at and
beyond their normal limits.
d. Practically unlimited level of detail of results.
5. 1 Steps In CFD
CFD codes are structured around the numerical
algorithm that can tackle fluid flow problems. In order to
provide easy access to their solving power all commercial CFD
packages include sophisticated user interfaces to input problem
parameters and to examine the results. Hence all code contains
three elements: (a) a pre-processor, (b) a solver and (c) a postprocessor.
5. 2Methodology for the Analysis
The TES system is closed system and it consists of
various components like flat plat collector, hot water storage

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Volume No.5, Issue No.4, pp : 332-339
tank, capsules, header and riser. Same steps should follow for
simulation of TES system with PCM.
This section will outline the basic methodology described. The
following Steps summarize the methodology used:

The geometry (physical bounds) of the problem is defined.

The volume occupied by the fluid is divided into discrete


cells (the mesh). The mesh may be uniform or nonuniform.

The physical modeling is defined for example, the


equations of motion + enthalpy + convection + species
conservation

Boundary conditions are defined. This involves specifying


the fluid behaviour and properties at the boundaries of the
problem. For transient problems, the initial conditions are
also defined.

The simulation is started and the equations are solved


iteratively as a steady-state or transient.

Finally a postprocessor is used for the analysis and


visualization of the resulting solution.

5.3 Defining the computational domain/geometry


It is the first step. FLUENT has the facility to create the
geometry of fluid domain of cylindrical shape tank. The
geometry can also be imported from various CAD tools
available for creating geometry. FLUENT module called
ANSYS 16.0 has in built feature for creating geometry as well as
mesh generation.

ISSN:2319-6890)(online),2347-5013(print)
1 April 2016
The second step is the discretisation of the physical
system of interest which divide the geometry in to number of
finite volumes (cells), called grid or mesh. The ANSYS has the
facility to generate the meshing simultaneously with the
geometry as well as also use to generate volume grids from
surface grids imported from CFD Fluent.
FLUENT uses unstructured meshes in order to reduce
the amount of time one can spend generating meshes, to simplify
the geometry modeling and mesh generation process, to allow
modeling of more complex geometries than one can handle with
conventional, multi-block structured meshes, and to let adapt the
mesh to resolve the flow-field features. It can also use bodyfitted, block-structured meshes (e.g., those used by FLUENT
and many other CFD solvers). It is capable of handling
triangular and quadrilateral elements (or a combination of the
two) in 2D, and tetrahedral, hexahedral, pyramid, wedge, and
polyhedral elements (or a combination of these) in 3D. As the
computational domain of geometry is cylindrical in shape.

5. 5 Boundary Condition
Boundary-type specifications, such as WALL, INLET,
OUTLET. define the characteristics of the model at its external
or internal boundaries. Continuum-type specifications, such as
FLUID or SOLID, define the characteristics of the model within
specified regions of its domain.
5.6 Output parameters
In the simulation the last step is the visualization of
results. The contours of all the parameters such as; temperature,
pressure, density, velocity etc. can be well plotted. From these
values the profiles of any parameter can be plotted by
graphically.
5.7 Result and Discussion
Simulation has been carried out and it has been
confirmed that the predicted average temperature is within the
acceptable limits.
6. Analysis of Thermal energy storage(TES) Tank with PCM

5.4 Discretisation of computational domain/meshing

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The developed methodology is the same as for TES


without PCM. Above 3-D model of the TES is simulated by
keeping PCM in to tank in varying shapes of cylindrical,
spherical and squre concentration. The geometry is modeled in
the FLUENT as shown in figure 6. Meshing of the geometry is
done in same way as for TES is shown in figure 7.while the

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Volume No.5, Issue No.4, pp : 332-339

ISSN:2319-6890)(online),2347-5013(print)
1 April 2016

PCM Spheres are meshed with Tet element. PCM spheres are of
diameter 62 mm.PCM used is Sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate
whose properties are shown in table3.1. All conditions are given
same as required for analysis of thermal energy storage system
except solidification and Melting model.
6.1 Charging Contour
In this process, the TES tank is integrated with constant
temperature water storage tank and the HTF inlet temperature
(THTF) is kept constant for a particular flow rate. The temperature
of the water storage tank is continuously monitored. The key
experimental parameters are HTF inlet temperature, flow rate of
HTF and PCM capsule shapes. Experiments are conducted for
different flow rates of HTF, different HTF inlet temperatures
and different PCM capsule shapes

10mins

12mins

2mins

14mins

4mins

16mins

6mins

18mins

8mins
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20mins

ISSN:2319-6890)(online),2347-5013(print)
1 April 2016

40mins

22mins
60mins

24mins

80mins

6.2 Discharging Contour


The discharging process starts after the completion of
charging process. Batch wise discharging experiments are
carried out as explained below. In this method 2 liters of hot
water is discharged from the thermal energy storage (TES) tank
and the same quantity of cold water at 25C is fed into TES tank
in each batch. The average temperature of the collected
discharge water in the bucket is measured using a digital
thermometer. The time difference between the consequent
discharges is 20 min. The batch wise withdrawing of hot water is
continued till the temperature of the outlet water reaches room
Temperature.

100mins

120mins
20mins

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1 April 2016

140mins

240min

160mins
260mins

180mins
280mins

200mins

220mins

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7. Result and Conclusion


Computational data have been generated for thermal
energy storage system and Temperature distribution is also
observed for thermal energy storage system. From the analysis
of
Thermal Energy Storage System it is found out that by
increasing percentage of PCM capsules, increasing percentage of
PCM capsules, the amount of latent heat increases and is almost
at constant temperature.
The use of Sodium thiosulfate
pentahydrate as a phase change material in spherical capsules in
conventional water storage tanks represents an approach for
simple and inexpensive thermal energy storage. Such storage can
be reliably used with conventional and existing solar water
heating systems. The suitability of the melting temperature of
paraffin wax enables the storage of excess energy available in
daytime hours as latent heat, and then the release of this stored
heat to maintain the water temperature in an acceptable range for
most domestic applications. In constrained melting, Thermal
convection only exists at the beginning of the melting process.
This effect causes the melting PCM to melt almost
concentrically inwards. During melting of PCM inside a single
spherical capsule high instantaneous heat flux occurs in the
beginning possibly due to entire heat transfer by convection and
then there occurs a sharp decrease initial value when the distance
between the wall and Phase front becomes comparatively large
and heat transfer is mainly due to convection. During
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ISSN:2319-6890)(online),2347-5013(print)
1 April 2016

solidification of PCM inside a capsule instantaneous heat flux


values occur in the beginning, the liquid PCM being indirect
contact with the PCM capsule wall. As the solidification layer
thickness increases with time, the resistance to heat transfer
increases at higher rate reducing instantaneous heat flux. The
convention and contact melting is absent and only major mode
of heat transfer is conduction.
In tank of the thermal energy storage system PCMs
(Sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate, sodium acetate trihydrate) are
kept in to tank in varying shapes of cylindrical, spherical and
squre concentration for the constant heat flux comparison is
made for with PCM and without PCM. Without PCM,
temperature of water is increase constantly while with PCM
temperature of water is maintained at constant temperature near
about 60 0C.
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