Does nanoparticles dispersed in a phase change material improve melting characteristics?

Rouhollah Yadollahi Farsani, Afrasiab Raisi*, Afshin Ahmadi Nadooshan, Srinivas Vanapalli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Nanoparticles dispersed in a phase change material alter the thermo-physical properties of the base material, such as thermal conductivity, viscosity, and specific heat capacity. These properties combined with the configuration of the cavity, and the location of the heat source, influence the melting characteristics of the phase change material. In this paper, an assessment of the influence of the nanoparticles in the base material subjected to a heat generating source located in the center of an insulated square cavity, which is a common configuration in thermal capacitors for temporal heat storage is investigated. The interplay between heat conduction enhanced due to an increase in thermal conduction and buoyancy driven heat convection damped by the increase in viscosity of nanoparticles dispersed in the phase change materials is studied with the calculated streamlines and isotherms. We observed three regimes during the melting process, first at an early time duration dominated by heat conduction, later by buoyancy driven convection till the melting front levels with the center of the cavity, and lastly once again heat conduction in the bottom portion of the cavity. During the first two regimes, addition of nanoparticles have no significant performance gain on the heat storage cavity, quantified by maximum temperature of the heat source and average Nusselt number at the faces of the heat source. In the late regime, nanoparticles provide a slight performance gain and this is attributed to the increase in the specific heat of the melt due to the nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-229
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Buoyancy driven convection
  • Heat storage
  • Melting
  • Nanoparticles
  • 22/4 OA procedure

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