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DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2015.IntSympAdvComputHeatTransf.460
pages 528-549

Ali C. Kheirabadi
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS, Canada

Dominic Groulx
Mechanical Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4R2


This paper presents a numerical study aimed at understanding the impact of the mushy zone constant, Amush, on simulated phase change heat transfer. This parameter is found in the Carman-Koseny equation which is used in the enthalpy-porosity formulation for modeling phase change; this approach models fluid flow within the mushy region as flow through a porous medium. The melting of lauric acid inside a rectangular thermal storage unit was simulated in COMSOL 4.4 and FLUENT 15.0; with Amush and the melting temperature range, ΔT, being varied per study. The simulated melt front positions were directly compared to experimental results presented by Shokouhmand and Kamkari [2013]. Results showed that Amush is an important parameter for accurately modelling phase change heat transfer; in particular, high Amush values corresponded to slower melting rates and the smallest Amush values resulted in unphysical predictions of the melt front development. Additionally, it was concluded that Amush and ΔT are not independent of one another in their roles of accurately modeling the melting rate; different values of ΔT would require different values of Amush to achieve the same melt front development. Further efforts are required to identify ideal values for these parameters, as well as to determine the extent to which these parameters hold for different materials and physical setups. It is anticipated that this paper will lead to further discussion on the significance of the mushy zone as a numerical technique for accurately modelling phase change heat transfer.

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