Bitumen Melting Inside a Tank, CFD Simulation ANSYS Fluent Training

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The present problem simulates bitumen melting inside a bitumen tank using ANSYS Fluent software.

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Bitumen Melting Description

The present simulation is about bitumen melting inside a bitumen tank via ANSYS Fluent. Bitumen is a material that increases in concentration when exposed to cold. In other words, the cold gradually causes the bitumen to freeze inside the tank.

Therefore, hot water flow pipes are used inside these tanks to upper the bitumen temperature inside the tanks and thus prevent it from freezing. In this project, a 2D bitumen tank is designed with periodic conditions.

Inside the tank, several rows of hot water pipes are designed. The bitumen material enters the tank at a low temperature, and its temperature increases when it receives heat from the pipe wall. This simulation uses a solidification and melting model to define phase change materials.

To define bitumen as a phase change material, the maximum temperature at which the solid phase temperature prevails (solidus temperature) is 340.15 K, the minimum temperature at which the liquid phase dominates (liquidus temperature) is 341.15 K, and the latent heat of pure solvent melting heat is defined as 450367

Bitumen flow enters the tank with a speed of 0.1 m.s-1 and a temperature of 343.15 K, and contacts the wall of hot water pipes with a constant temperature of 523.15 K.

Geometry & Mesh

The present geometry is designed in a 2D model via Design Modeler. The computational zone is the interior of a tank with several rows of pipes. This geometry is designed as a 2D plane with periodic conditions and can turn into a 3D cylindrical tank when checking the results.

Bitumen MeltingBitumen Melting


The mesh of the present model has been done via ANSYS Meshing. Mesh is structured, and the number of production cells equals 10541.

Bitumen MeltingSet-up & Solution

Assumptions used in this simulation:

  • Pressure-based solver is used.
  • The present simulation is unsteady.
  • The effect of gravity is ignored.


Viscous k-epsilon
k-epsilon model RNG
Near-wall treatment standard wall function
Solidification & Melting Model On
Energy On
Boundary conditions
Inlet Velocity Inlet
velocity magnitude 0.1 m.s-1
temperature 343.15 K
Inner Wall Wall
wall motion stationary wall
thermal condition coupled
Outer Wall Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
Tubes’ Wall Wall
wall motion stationary wall
temperature 523.15 K
Outlet Pressure Outlet
gauge pressure 0 pascal
Pressure-Velocity Coupling Coupled
pressure second-order
momentum first-order upwind
energy first-order upwind
turbulent kinetic energy first-order upwind
turbulent dissipation rate first-order upwind
Initialization methods Standard
gauge pressure 0 pascal
velocity (axial & radial) 0 m.s-1
temperature 293.15 K

Bitumen Melting Results

After calculation, 2D and 3D contours related to temperature, temperature gradient, pressure, velocity, liquid fraction, and liquid fraction gradient are obtained. The contours show that in the vicinity of the hot pipes, the bitumen rises in temperature. An increase in temperature causes the bitumen to begin to melt. As a result, it prevents the bitumen from freezing.


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