A numerical study of constrained melting of nanostructure-enhanced phase change materials (NEPCM) consisting of eicosane and various loadings of CNTs in a rectangular cavity heated from below was performed. Assuming that the NEPCM are single-phase PCMs with homogeneous thermophysical properties, the problem was solved using a finite volume method based on the enthalpy-porosity scheme for solid-liquid phase change. The effective thermophysical properties of NEPCM were predicted using the mixture models and empirical equation with respect to the loading of CNTs. Three nominal Grashof numbers corresponding to three sizes of the cavity were considered. Evolutions of the constrained melting processes were presented by means of snapshots of the temperature contour at representative time instants. The melting rates and local heat transfer along the heated bottom were compared quantitatively based on the variations of the instantaneous liquid fraction and average Nusselt number over the bottom during melting, respectively. It was shown that at a given size of the cavity, melting was expedited as more CNTs were introduced. The expediting of melting was mainly attributed to the enhanced thermal conductivity and lowering of latent heat of fusion of NEPCM. The inclusion of CNTs, however, increases considerably the viscosity of melted NEPCM, which in turn leads to less significant natural convection effect during melting. As a result, increase of loading of CNTs was shown to lead to two competing effects. The feasibility of NEPCM in melting is justified when the enhanced heat conduction overweighs the suppressed natural convection.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.