Numerical and experimental investigation of shell-and-tube phase change material thermal storage unit
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Latent heat thermal energy storage (TES) is becoming an increasingly popular approach for effective energy conservation. Significant amounts of energy can be stored in relatively small volumes of material by taking advantage of the high latent heat of solid-liquid phase change materials (PCMs). Storing large amounts of energy in this space-effective manner is very attractive for data center applications where considerable resources are expended to cool electronics. By utilizing the energy storage capabilities of a TES unit in a data center during on- and off-peak hours, energy costs can be significantly diminished. This thesis addresses the numerical and experimental investigation of a TES unit with water acting as the heat transfer fluid (HTF) in crossflow over a bank of PCM-filled tubes. The numerical simulations employ a fully-implicit transient one-dimensional control volume formulation that utilizes the enthalpy method for phase change. The phase change process for the tube bank is coupled with the conservation of energy to determine the bulk HTF temperature exiting each column of tubes and ultimately the tube bank. Experimentation, using commercial paraffin RUBITHERM RT 28 HC PCM, has been performed for model validation, and the transient numerical simulation results are compared with the experimental findings.