Pore-scale analysis on selection of composite phase change materials for photovoltaic thermal management

Xinyi Li, Wei Cui, Terrence Simon, Ting Ma, Tianhong Cui, Qiuwang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Composite Phase Change Materials (CPCMs) using metal foam as core material are highly promising for thermal management of photovoltaics. Selecting a proper CPCM for a given application is challenging. To address this, we developed a pore-scale lattice Boltzmann model based on X-ray micro-Computed Tomography to describe the complicated microstructures of the metal foam and computed the dynamic temperature and flow fields in representative applications. Two important parameters for the design of PCMs, melting temperature and latent heat, are discussed in this work by comparing the melting fraction, energy density, and power density for different CPCMs. Further, we demonstrate a CPCM choice for thermal management of a tilted photovoltaic panel. By comparing the thermal behavior of four different paraffin based CPCMs having similar thermophysical properties but different melting temperatures and latent heats, the effects of melting temperature and latent heat are illustrated for a practical application. Compared with the highest latent heat (Stefan number Ste = 0.1), energy density is reduced by 31.8%, 52.0%, and 63.5% for the other three cases with Ste of 0.15, 0.22, and 0.3, respectively, while the melting time is extended, with the reverse order. Besides, a lower melting temperature leads to a quicker response at the early melting stage, while this quick response is short-lived. Thus, the choice of melting temperature should balance the benefits of excellent initial thermal control against the risks of loss of control later. The results of this work help establish an effective strategy toward material selection of CPCMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117558
JournalApplied Energy
Volume302
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is financially supported by the National Natural Science and Hong Kong Research Grant Council Joint Research Funding Project of China (Grant No. 51861165105), and the Foundation for Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51721004). The authors would like to thank the High Performance Computing Centre of Key Laboratory of Thermo-Fluid Science and Engineering for providing computing resources.

Funding Information:
This work is financially supported by the National Natural Science and Hong Kong Research Grant Council Joint Research Funding Project of China (Grant No. 51861165105), and the Foundation for Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51721004). The authors would like to thank the High Performance Computing Centre of Key Laboratory of Thermo-Fluid Science and Engineering for providing computing resources.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Composite phase change material
  • Lattice Boltzmann method
  • Pore-scale
  • Thermal management
  • Thermophysical properties

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