Thermal energy storage systems are gaining significance due to their potential use to store renewable energy and waste heat. Phase change materials (PCMs) are considered to be an efficient way to store thermal energy. However, the heat transfer process during the phase change is not well understood. We report on an experimental study conducted to investigate the heat transfer process in a PCM during melting phase. A PCM storage system subjected to bottom heating from a horizontal heated cylinder was considered using wax as the PCM. An imaging technique was used to capture the movement of the solid-liquid interface. Temperature was measured at multiple locations to quantify the heat transfer process. The interface was found to move with a relatively uniform velocity throughout the melting process however, the heat transfer rate was significantly enhanced in the melted (liquid) phase. The local heat transfer coefficient was found to decrease with an increase in the liquid fraction.

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