Item description

Effect of the use of PCM (Phase Change Material) in fluid transfer pipes, CFD simulation and analysis by ANSYS Fluent software

Phase Change Material (PCM) is a material with organic or mineral compounds that can absorb and store a large amount of thermal energy inside. The storage of heat energy in these materials occurs during the phase change process (change from solid to liquid or vice versa). These materials absorb the heat from the environment and return to the environment when the phase changes from solid to liquid and from liquid to solid, respectively. The PCM can maintain this innate thermal energy internally, without any change, even after thousands of phases change.

The use of latent heat storage systems using PCM is an effective way to save energy and is considered a renewable and new energy source. During the melting process, PCM store thermal energy in the form of hidden heat and release this energy during solidification. Regarding the increasing demand for energy and the limitation of fossil fuels as end-of-life resources and increased environmental pollutants, the issue of energy storage is of great importance. Among these, buildings are one of the major consumers; about 40% of the total energy consumed in this sector, of which about 14% of energy consumption is spent on cooling and heating of space. The first reports of the use of these materials in the building since the 1940s emerged as a novelty, and then the use of these materials in the building since the 1980s was widely studied, and today their use in the construction industry has a special place.

In this analysis, the behavior of a PCM in the co-axial space between two tubes containing heat fluid with and without fin using ANSYS Fluent software has been investigated.

Geometry and grid

The geometry required for this analysis consists of two co-axial pipes, where the space between pipes is filled by PCM, and the water is flowing around the PCM with high temperature. This geometry is designed in ANSYS Design Modeler software and the required mesh is also produced by ANSYS Meshing software for this geometry. The meshing produced for this geometry is entirely of a structured type and the total number of cells created for this geometry is 23,908 cells.


Regarding that only the PCM component has been analyzed in this simulation, and Reynolds is very low concerned with the deformation and movement of PCM material, the LAMINAR viscosity model has been used. Energy equations are solved together with the momentum equations. Gravity is also considered in this analysis.

For the analysis of the phase change of the RT82 material, which is a PCM substance and used in this simulation, Solidification/Melting model has been applied.

In the material part, the RT82 material properties has been applied to the PCM substance.

Boundary Condition

In this analysis, only the walls of pipes containing hot fluid are simulated. The inner wall of the inner tube as well as the outer wall of the external tube is defined as Adiabatic. The internal wall temperature of the pipes in contact with the PCM is defined as Wall and the temperature constant of 363.15 K is used.

Discretization of equations

The SIMPLE algorithm is used to solve the equations in this analysis. Pressure-Based solver is also used. The First Order Upwind method is used to discretize equations.

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