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Solar Heater of a Water Tank and the Effect of PCM, ANSYS Fluent Training

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In this project, using PCM encapsulated in a water tank solar heater has been investigated with different considerations, including the effect of melting and freezing temperature of PCM material, the effect of PCM material volume, and a comparison with no PCM material.

This product includes Mesh file and a Training Movie.

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Description

Introduction

Phase change materials can change phase (for example, from solid to liquid and vice versa) over an almost constant temperature range. The phase change process in such materials is usually accompanied by the exchange of a large volume of energy, which is referred to as latent phase change heat. This high volume of heat is exchanged in harmony with nature and automatically and intelligently through ambient temperature changes. These materials have become one of the special capacities of energy storage in various uses due to the mentioned properties like solar heater.

Due to the increasing need for energy and the limitation of fossil fuels, which are a depleting source and polluting the environment, the need to use new energy sources is felt more than ever. One of the most widely used energies is solar energy. The use of PCM phase-changing materials with high latent heat is suitable for storing thermal energy, especially solar energy, which has been very popular in recent years. Meanwhile, phase change materials in the water tank related to solar water heaters are a new method that has recently been considered.

Project Description

In this project, using PCM encapsulated in a water tank solar heater has been investigated with different considerations, including the effect of melting and freezing temperature of PCM material, the effect of PCM material volume, and a comparison with no PCM material. The PCM space’s inner wall is considered a wall with a temperature condition of 603.3 K and a thickness of 0.0015 m. For the outer wall of this space, the wall boundary condition with the Adiabatic condition is used. The energy equation is activated to obtain temperature distribution inside the computational domain. The laminar model is exploited to solve fluid flow equations.

The solidification / Melting model has been used to analyze the phase change of PCM material from solid to liquid and vice versa due to temperature change inside the water storage area. We should apply the Boussinesq model to determine the density changes in proportion to temperature.

Solar Heater Geometry & Mesh

The geometry required for solar water heater analysis includes the water storage chamber for the solar water heater. This chamber is a space between two coaxial tubes, and we fill the space between these two coaxial tubes with PCM. We model the geometry of this project by ANSYS Design Modeler and mesh the geometry in ANSYS meshing. The mesh type used for this geometry is unstructured, and the element number is 5803.

pcm

pcmPCM CFD Simulation Settings

The critical assumptions considered in this project are:

  • Simulation uses a pressure-based solver.
  • The present simulation is transient.
  • We consider the gravity, and its value is equal to -9.81 m/s2 in the Y direction.

The following table represents a summary of the defining steps of the problem and its solution:

 
Models
Viscous model Laminar
Energy on
Solidification/Melting on
Mushy zone parameter 100000
Boundary conditions
Walls Stationary wall
inner Temperature 602.3 K
Wall thickness 0.0015
outer Heat flux 0 W/m2
(PCM) Solution Methods
Pressure-velocity coupling   SIMPLE
Spatial discretization Pressure PRESTO!
Momentum second-order upwind
Energy second-order upwind
(PCM) Initialization
Initialization method   Standard
gauge pressure 0 Pa
Velocity (x,y,z) (0,0,0) m/s
temperature 274.15 K

Results

We present the contours of liquid volume fraction, pressure, velocity, temperature.

There is a mesh file in this product. By the way, the Training File presents how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.

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